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Copyright © 2009

Robin Patric Clair

The Story of Jimmy


rendered in four poems


Rendering Disappearance


Sitting in a little desk—arranged in a straight row parallel the other rows and facing the blackboard—Jimmy Draws-So-Small placed his sharpened #2 pencil onto the white paper.


Once again, he remembered an image from a book, now tacked to the wall, that the teacher had shared with the class about art history, a history more ancient than his grandfather or any of the other elders in his tribe.


A wounded bison on the cave wall of Lascaux.


Jimmy Draws-So-Small had drawn the bison everyday. First, he removed the spear; then he healed the wound; finally, he rendered the bison strong and free. But then Jimmy Draws-So-Small did something his teacher called

so strange.

He drew the bison smaller

every single day.


On the seventy-seventh day, he leaned into his paper, in pretty much the usual way—his shiny, black hair fell about his face, hiding him from view—yet this time, he placed a single dot onto the page.

And then

Jimmy Draws-So-Small

stepped into the picture and

disappeared that day. 



Rendering Reality


Pulling the inside of his elbow to his face, Jimmy Draws-So-Small adjusted to the pungent buffalo odor that surrounded him and invaded his nostrils. A bison snorted the human smell away. The boy nudged against a calf who generously gave her scent to him.


Jimmy Draws-So-Small joined the Buffalo Clan in this rather unusual way.


He ran with the buffalo and rode on their backs, sometimes straddling two at a time, daring fate to play, wind speaking to his face each day and the nights better yet, with warm companions, inhaling large breaths of air, exhaling slowly, inhaling into the gentle light of day after day, until, suddenly, lightning slapped the earth and seared the sky, jerking all awake, sending broken dreams to flight, forcing hoofs to strike like thunder. Relentless lightning whipped with fury; thunder claimed its name.


The herd raced to the edge of the wood, where giant raindrops splattered in torrential streams against their fur. Shivering now, Jimmy Draws-So-Small nestled in among the hunkered herd, but peeked over a wet shoulder, spying a cave.


Cave walls are inviting, although rough to the hand. Jimmy Draws-So-Small didn’t mind as he smeared mud and dung and ocher-colored clay—capturing in broad strokes, the bison and their way. At the upper edge, he painted the entrance to a cave. Then

Jimmy Draws-So-Small

stepped into it and

simply slipped away.



Rendering Appearance


Jimmy Draws-So-Small looked up as the teacher walked up and down the aisles looking at students’ papers. As she passed Jimmy, she put a finger to her nose, smelling musk and dung and mud and something else, she said,

so strange.


Jimmy Draws-So-Small

smiled, gazed with satisfaction

at the print tacked to the bulletin

board on the wall—The Cave

Paintings of Lascaux

and then placed

a new dot

upon the




Rendering Art; Rendering Life