Black and White

Detail of emerging tendrils, photo by Cai Quirk

every morning I slip robes onto outstretched arms

white as God gave me, devoid of color,
on top of
black as people gave me, encompassing every color

I am to transcend
all meaning of colors
in my search for God

yet how can reds and yellows not blossom over my robes
and blues and greens not flourish behind my ears
as the colors of this world wash over me

in my prayers and as I sing
all fades away and I am closer
to God and to the people

each person that comes to me
is a different color
blue, orange, green, pink

and I am all of them
each person and color
lifting their prayers to God

and I am nobody
no one but a humble servant
devoid of color

Cai Quirk

Cai Quirk (they or other neutral pronouns) is a genderqueer/fluid multidisciplinary artist from Ithaca (N.Y.) Meeting. Their work connects gender, mythology, and nature-based spirituality through photos, poems, and stories. Cai was recently artist-in-residence at Pendle Hill, and their book Transcendence comes out this winter. More can be found at

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