Editor's Note: Thank you to everyone who participated in this ekphrastic writing challenge. And thank you to Omar Odeh for the opportunity to be inspired by his wonderfully evocative artwork! If you aren't already aware, know that The Ekphrastic Review has two visual art prompts every month. Every other Friday there is a new prompt, and on the Fridays in between, a selection of submissions are posted. We are grateful to everyone who looks, likes, writes, submits, shares, and reads. Together we are creating an amazing body of ekphrastic writing and an amazing body of readers so the writing talents get the audience they should. Thank you. Lorette
At 3:00 a.m., two eyes stare
in my window, floating impossibly high
above the ground. Your own reflection,
I tell myself without believing –
one pupil open wide to gather
the light, the other a pinprick.
Night, the thief of colour, plunders
peace, smothers the calming melody
of birds and white noise of traffic,
signals the mind’s stray mutterings
to move in. Ideas I’ve hidden
even from myself skitter
across the page, trying to escape
surveillance. Tomorrow I’ll discover
a message in a mysterious hand
left on my desk. I jump at a yowl –
a neighbour’s cat in the alley –
but the eyes peering in never blink.
Alarie’s latest poetry book, Waking on the Moon, contains many poems first published by The Ekphrastic Review. Please visit her at alariepoet.com.
We two women,
so like our friend Bastet
revered by ancient Egyptians
beloved by us.
She comes to us across
time, across the boards
pointing us to the blue
So, we will discern
open our eyes to your thoughts--
come to us,
receive our homage
such is way of wise
women and wise cats.
Joan Leotta loves to play with words on page and on stage. Her work includes poems just up or forthcoming on Writing in a Woman's Voice, Visual Verse and others. She loves to walk the beach, read, and cook for family and friends.
Two Women With Cat
My sister reminds me about the cat
that we took to the New Jersey suburb
of Philadelphia, who didn’t want to live there
and traveled 75 miles back to the house on the bay.
We found her in the spring when we returned
to open up the house, turn on the water drained.
She had lived the winter in the cellar.
After months in the suburb, I agreed with her choice.
She had tangled with another animal, survived.
Her throat was torn and she could hardly speak.
What I imagine a woman in a burqa feels,
what an artist senses trying to paint women sheltered
when we would prefer chance to security,
prefer a life lived to safety, prefer to be a black cat
scorned and left behind to fend on its own,
prefer the sliver of a crescent moon to a full at epigee.
Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press), and Wildwood (Lummox Press). Ride the Pink Horse is forthcoming from Spartan Press in 2019. With six nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
This frowning front door
foreshadows the fake smiles
hovering behind it.
The monsters within--
but the black cat hesitates.
She would not be back
if not for the regular,
fatty gourmet goulash.
A few undeserved kicks
worth it for a full belly,
a corner to cower in nightly.
In daylight, she scouts
unsupervised, shrieking playgrounds--
an affectionate lure
twining around children's legs
with her hypnotic purr.
Wide-eyes cannot resist
the dusky invitation to follow--
so close to bedtime—down the street.
Arriving at a frowning front door.
Jordan Trethewey is a writer and editor living in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. His work has been featured in many online and print publications, and has been translated in Vietnamese and Farsi. To see more of his work go to: https://jordantretheweywriter.wordpress.com
(and the devil too)
Kerfe Roig likes to play with colour words and form. You can follow along on the blog she does with her friend Nina, https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/
Cauldron of Waves
I am wrapped in darkness and this darkness acts as my double.
No shadows, no incongruent tones - simply a weird remoteness which puffs up around me and makes me doubt myself.
It could have been in Mykonos, before the sunrise, looking out into the sea, into the obscure cauldron of waves.
Was it truly me then - or is this moment a nocturnal layer of my memory?
And yes – the houses were all painted white, here and there a trace of blue.
As the sun went up, I remember the cat gingerly treading on the painted roof.
Romanian-born Irina Moga is a member The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC); she previously published two books in Romanian. Her poetry has appeared in literary magazines such as Canadian Literature, carte-blanche, dandelion, Rockhurst Review and The Chaffin Journal.
Darkness, heavy with
with lines by Iraqi-American poet,
The poet wrote, Cinderella left her slipper
in Iraq. I would borrow this line and so many
others, but I have never been in her skin,
never written words punished by exile.
I wasn’t painted by Omar Odeh. The eyes
muddied with sorrow are not mine. They do not
grace my face. I never wore the veil,
lined my eyes in kohl.
I wasn’t the one to lose a country.
My memory cannot smell the river, the lily, the fish.
My mind cannot understand the keyhole, the eyebrow, the cat.
My honesty cannot borrow another poet’s words
to describe my response to this artist’s painting.
And yet, I feel vibrations from his art/
her lines. They swirl inside me, wanting
release, voice. Have I not felt loneliness
like an inverted hollow? Have I not been estranged?
Have I not looked into darkness, heavy with
loss, then chosen to grow on new soil?
Sandi Stromberg is enjoying the ekphrastic challenges presented by The Ekphrastic Review, with poems accepted in response to Joseph Cornell and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art. She also loves gathering poets’ work into anthologies. She co-edited Echoes of the Cordillera (ekphrastic poems, Museum of the Big Bend, 2018) and Untameable City: Poems on the Nature of Houston (Mutabilis Press, 2015). Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, read on PBS during the April 2017 “Voices and Verses,” and published in multiple small journals and anthologies. She has been a juried poet ten times in the Houston Poetry Fest. Her translations of Dutch poetry were published in the United States and Luxembourg.
Kept too long in the closet
With the rags and brooms,
Like punished children
Learning to obey,
We see each other
Know the shape
Of every bruise
And broken promise,
The taste of longing
Swallowed with our bread
The sour air we breathe
Beneath our veils--
We whisper and hiss,
Polishing our smiles
Until they shine
Like hungry moons,
Sharp enough to cut us out
Of these strict margins
And let us walk,
In rags and tatters,
Into the open air.
Mary McCarthy is a former nurse who has always been a writer. She has had work in many on line and print journals, and an electronic chapbook, "Things I Was Told Not to Think About," available as a free download from Praxis Magazine online.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on FB and Twitter!
Find a writer, artist, or poem, etc. by searching here: