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Amanda Russell

To Paint July

The month of his death, Vincent van Gogh painted “Wheatfield under Thunder Clouds,” “Wheatfields at Auvers under Clouded Sky,” “Wheatfield with Crows.”

In 1890 Vincent wanted to paint July,

and so, we see her now

as she stood then—dressed in

wheatfields of gold under crows,

under thunder, wrapped in

cloud-shine. Wheat swept and wet,

standing high as sky reaching sky, as hope

full grown and the incarnation of light

made sustenance, the daily bread

of nourishment, whispering in wind, This is

my body, broken, tilled and filled be-fore you.

This is the braid of every music

coursing through Mother Earth’s umbilical chorus—

the sun’s brilliance

brought to fruition through the friction of seasons.

This is the living bread kneaded and risen

to the height of hallelujah:

July, in her dance of chemistry, in her sacred

accessibility, stood open-armed. July, in her

thunder of wanting, in her clouded

division, in her crow-wings laying out her treasures—

unboxed, unvexed, unhurried augustness.

He wanted to paint July, and she stood

before him, bare


Amanda Russell is an editor at The Comstock Review and a stay-at-home mom. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Walt’s Corner, EcoTheo Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, and the anthology mightier: poets for social justice. To learn more about her or her chapbook, Barren Years, please visit


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