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Sam Yau

You were born on

the first anniversary of

the death of your mother’s firstborn


You were cast in the identical name

in memory of your brother


Every year on your birthday

your mother took you

to the cemetery

where he was buried


You were a phantom of

your brother for whom

your mom never ceased grieving


You were never celebrated

or loved for who you are


The world was cold and unsafe for you

unloved and unappreciated for your gift

you received only contempt and scorn


Yet, in the deep recesses of your soul

you immerse yourself in a rich inner life

unbeknownst to the world


You see what no one else can see

you have no choice but to paint it


You show your love for the world

it is never returned while you’re alive


In nature you find

the beauty that nourishes you

the wellspring that unfolds your genius

the transcendence that knows

the wondrous power of brilliant color


that reverberates in

the souls of millions

who see what you saw

the blue night sky with

bright swirling yellow stars

one summer night in Saint Rémy



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