Add Phthalo Blue

To the lean trees, leafless, the sky awash in spirits,
to rain-streaked, grayed-out wetlands.

To aging winter’s illness—a cold-boned birch once silvered
    by the moon.

Phthalo blue—bright, crystalline—stumbled upon by a chemist troubled by contamination.

Its light-fastness, tinting strength, its resemblance
    to the blue powder childhood.

Judith Skillman’s most recent book is Kafka’s Shadow, Deerbrook Editions. Her poems have appeared in FIELD, Cimarron Review, Shenandoah, The Iowa Review, and in anthologies including Nasty Women Poets, Lost Horse Press. She has been a writer in residence at the Centrum Foundation, and is the recipient of a 2017 Washington Trust GAP grant. Visit

Photograph by Olivier Guillard.

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