I tried to hold back in my last artist spotlight about my daughter, Amber. I don’t want to embarrass her with my gushing mother love stuff, because I truly respect her as an artist. But sometimes I just can’t help myself. Amber is an amazing talent. She also has a heart that’s larger than all outdoors. I could go on about Amber for five hundred pages and still have many stories left to tell. She is my soul. She is my joy.
But before I break out the orchestra, please take a look at Amber’s beautiful art prints. She did them for a class when she was asked to create work with the theme of literature from her childhood. Have you ever seen Highlights magazine for children? If so, you’ll probably remember the hidden pictures. Inspired by the hidden picture format, Amber has created and “hidden” several characters from her favorite childhood books within these prints. In one of them, she has also hidden a childhood picture of herself.
Of course, the real prints are even more beautiful. I love the dark, dreamlike textures and colors. I wish I could show them to you in real life, as some of the smaller details aren’t visible in a limited blog space. But if you look closely, the hidden pictures will appear.
My poem below the prints is my attempt to do with words what Amber did with her pictures. I also tried to “hide” several references to my favorite books we read.
A tip of the hat to Amber A. Yoder. The A is for awesome.
Four Prints by Amber A. Yoder
by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder
Carolina August noon.
My feet stick on
the hardwood floor.
The humidity hangs
in unwashed sheets and
curls your hair in rings.
I tell you not to lick
the rusted window screens.
You hop from foot to foot
in little lavender sandals,
trying hard to wait for me
to scrape enough change
from the bottom of a drawer
so we can walk to the store
to buy sugar and eggs.
I knew it was too hot
to bake a cake
but you asked
I load up a red wagon with you,
a picture book about a magic cake,
two dirty gray kittens, several rocks
of various shapes and colors,
a bear named Frére Jacques,
a dead lizard you found on the porch,
sugar, and I hope the eggs don’t bake
before we do.
I have never seen anyone so happy
to heat up an old, pot scarred stove
on a ninety-eight degree day.
We mix and lick and before I know it,
I’m having as much fun as you are,
and you start shedding your clothes
until you’re buck naked, shiny, bright,
wild, eggshells in your eyebrows,
some of your curls paper machéd
to the back of your head.
Drumbeats begin and a jungle
of curls grows across the kitchen,
up the walls, over the windows,
to the ceiling, and we get lost
in the shimmer shake shine
of that slick curling rhythm,
sugar glazed drops in our eyes.
Over thunder cakes we fly
in a little red canoe, a wide tide
of wind curls and turns us to
the bright lumps of giving trees,
upstream fairies fighting pirates.
We chew through owl moons
to taste honey pots of tiny mice
under gold bridges where
rainbow scales float
and we grow sweet
terrible teeth and roar.
Big green monsters go away.
Goat-footed trolls sleep deep.
I take our chocolate flop
out way too late
and God bless you,
you look up at me
like I’m a genius.
I know you will tip toe
to my bedroom tonight,
dropping hot little feathers
of breath around my neck.
When the rusty windows thunder,
you tell me it’s only the lightning
that gets you in the end.
But it’s only in the end I know
we’ll hold each other in the heat
like strands of curls cut free.