The Blue Face

By Jeff Musillo

I can’t recall many events
leading up to his death.
I was nine years old at the time.

I do remember being
ushered into the room.
The room in the hospital.

There he was.
A version of my father.
A dead version.

He was no longer a person.
No longer able to throw the ball with me.
No longer able to slice ham in his deli.
No longer able to worry about lack of money
or fighting for success
or feeding his children
or pleasing my step-mother
or loading Nerf guns
or telling me why Michael Jordan returned
or fighting with my mother under the moonlight at the house in which he no longer dwelled.

He was unable to do these things.
His heart gave out.

The first thing I noticed when ushered into that room
was the peculiar device coming from his throat.

I then noticed the color of his face.
It was a shade of blue
that I have never seen before.
A shade a blue
that I have never seen since.

I have been making abstract
paintings for many years now.
Experimenting with many colors.
Particularly blue.
But I have never again
found that shade.

Is it because I need to keep searching?
Or because I never again want to see it?


Headshot 2Jeff is a writer, visual artist, actor, and director. He’s the author of The Ease of Access (2013), Can You See That Sound (The Operating System, 2014), Snapshot Americana (Roundfire Books, 2014), and The Eternal Echo (Strawberry Books, 2016).

His paintings have been exhibited in the over twenty shows throughout New York and have been showcased in magazines in both the U.S. and Europe, including The Menteur in France, Arrow Magazine, and Aesthetics Magazine. His paintings were also in the feature film The Heart Machine, and will soon be seen in the upcoming film In Case of Emergency.

His work in film as a screenwriter, director, and actor, has premiered at The Hoboken International Film Festival, The Jersey Shore Film Festival, and The Katra Film Series. His screenplay In The Ring is currently in pre-production and will be directed by Aaron Latham, who wrote Urban Cowboy and The Program. And he recently wrapped filming the Hulu pilot Holiday Shelter, in which he will play a recurring role.

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