A painting by artist Lauren Raye Snow called “Home.” A female presenting figure in the foreground, ambiguously young, with an olive complexion, orange-red lips, flushed cheeks bordering on burning, dark hair in braids, dark brown eyes, and a slender build, wearing a black satin fantastical confection of a dress, like a nun turned into a gothic cupcake. In the background a giant thunderhead looms heavy and foreboding in the turquoise-blue sky, itself bright and unnaturally orange. Flanking the woman in the background are two live oaks barren of leaves, and the ground is green but singeing a yellow-brown from the extreme weather. The woman clutches an armadillo, like a precious relic, or as Mary to a baby Jesus; her face is ambivalent, tense, afraid, sad. She is crowned with the blown out wildflowers native to Texas.

My latest, “Home.” When home is hostile, beautiful but brutal.

My bittersweet love letter to my home state of Texas. The landscape of my life, the centuries-long open wound of colony from whence I came, the broken body of malign governance and treacherous climes. How bright the beauty, how sharp the knife.


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