CAZA AZUL by Jessica Goody That magical blue, royal, cobalt, indigo catches the eye like a ship sailing amidst the industrial gray of cinderblocks and city sidewalks, so blue you cannot look away. Conjoined-twin houses, one pink, the other blue: your own temple, golden steps leading to a mythical paradise of vivid birds and steaming foliage. Papel-picado banners form a rainbow of red, purple, yellow, green tissue paper fluttering in the breeze. A kelly green door, shamrock-bright and inviting; parrot-colored tables, red-rimmed doorjambs, and window frames gleaming electric orange. The yellow bistro tables in the courtyard are surrounded by chairs, a school of tropical fish swimming against the intensity of blue. Terra-cotta statues of plump, thick-lipped Mesoamerican idols squat on a curving wall like Buddhas among the trees, contemplating the sky. Potted plants stand ready to receive their sage advice. Carved wooden spoons and painted pans hang on the kitchen wall, inlaid with Talavera tiles in geometric yellow and blue. Clay bowls and copper baskets gape, shiny as new coins, waiting to be filled: The spices, herbs and oils might be talismans for the rites of shamans and curanderos. The rich oil-and-plastic scent of paint fills the room. The wooden table is cluttered with bottles and tubes squeezed and rolled like toothpaste, their tips clotted and scabbed with dried paint. There is nothing prettier than the dried scrim of color on the smooth rainbow surface of the palette. The consummation of tint and hue are performed here, the yin and yang of colors: Red dips to blue, begetting purple. Red is diluted to pink on the advice of white, and meets yellow in secret, the affair siring sunset. The wheelchair sits empty, the shadow of her silhouette no longer pressed into the cushions. The canvas waiting on the easel will never be filled. Half-finished, it is easier to look at than the pure white square of blankness, bright and empty. The huge old canopy bed, the convalescent’s chamber, seems out of place among the decorations and primary colors, the statues and painted furniture. Here you lay stranded, a plaster golem, sweating, itching, pained and restless inside the concrete carapace that bound your broken vertebra. Bedridden, you lay on embroidered pillows, spending endless hours contemplating the ceiling, painting words on the wall, decorating yourself with rings on every finger, and garlands in your hair.