When I stood on the cold sand, feeling dusk make the air heavy with shadow, I looked into the sky and did not see a sunset.
I saw an impudent bronzed eye peering through a tattered hem the color of a bruise. I saw a gleaming pearl, with grasping, purple fingers brushing against it. I saw pillows of violet froth, ethereal and melting, their edges warmed by the furnace blistering below them. I saw the golden pea hidden beneath layers of amethyst mattresses and imagined the sleepless princess tossing and turning above them.
I saw plum velvet from the Mauve Age. I saw gilded borders from the Gilded Age. I saw gold tissue from a Renaissance bodice.
I saw the shapes and recesses of lavender storms and indigo vapors – living mists blown from a distant shore – that collected thickly around the sinking, tired star.
I did not see a sunset.
So – annoyed perhaps that I did not appreciate its dust molecules, atmospheres, barometers and temperatures – the sunset scowled blackly, dashing its colors on the dark horizon. It sank beneath the waves, to warm the coral grottos, the hidden fields, and to light a way for the submerged populations.