On Saturday morning there was a man on the Balboa Island promenade painting a copy of The Raft of the Medusa. He stood on the sand on the other side of the sea-wall. Aaron and I stopped our walk to watch him. Aaron told him it was a cool painting and that he had just read a book about Gericault. “Yeah man, it’s just a reflection of my inner state,” the man said.

The painting was a bad copy. The canvas was not large enough to hold the details and the reds and browns had no translucence. The saving ship on the horizon was too large.

“Some people got to me, and my friend is letting me live here.” The man had on a Harvard sweatshirt. He wore no shoes. Aaron and I walked on past the yachts and heard the clinking of the cleats against the masts and I asked Aaron whether he would go to war if one were to come.

Lucas Smith is a writer from California and Australia. His work has appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, Australian Book Review, Meanjin, Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Rialto and many other venues.