Still Life with Lemons: Luis Egidio Meléndez (1716-1780)
I have painted cork coolers of Rioja wine, a pair of doves, red beaks and claws, forever entwined, a copper chocolate mill used to mix the thick brew that royal ladies sip in gilded porcelain cups. Before meals, I set out our best Talavera plates with cucumbers, lemons, grapes and watermelon. I rendered juice so real you could taste it.
I am the painter Luis Egidio Meléndez . You must have seen my self-portrait at the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts. It won first prize in my first year as a student there. Did you notice my rendering in chalk of a male nude who seems to step off the page? I am holding the chalk in a brass holder and my white ruffles are immaculately clean. You may wonder why I was never commissioned to paint the portraits of our King and Queen.
I live on Calle del Espejo. In this Street of the Mirror, my neighbour Francisco de Goya has seen only success: royal commissions and court appointments. This twisted street has shown me only disappointment. Legends say that the Muslims built a tower here to watch for enemies. I should have done likewise.
My father, renowned miniaturist, Francisco Meléndez de Rivera Díaz, was the head of painting at Madrid’s new Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and I, its most promising student. I thought father was proud, but perhaps he felt threatened, when I won highest honours in painting in my first year.
Father wrote a scathing epistle to the school’s director to demand more recognition as a founder of the school. I understand his frustration but, why didn’t he deliver the letter instead of giving that job to me? He was fired, and I was expelled, so I left to study in Rome and Naples.
The dominion of our King Carlos III stretches beyond the seas. He is a patron of the arts, yet he’s never requested a single work from me. Years ago, I painted his portrait as a gift, but he never answered my letters and proposals. I am a married man with children. We would have starved if my patron, the heir to the throne, were not a botanist, hunter, and epicure. The prince has my forty-four paintings of the fruits and vegetables of Spain.
When money from the prince’s commission ran out, I traced over my work to make copies for merchants and courtiers. Painted ‘til the bread cracked, and the pears bruised. Plugged the wine carafe with cork ‘til it crumbled, replaced the cork with scraps of cloth, then paper. I’ve pawned everything but my pen and pencils. Today, on my deathbed, I declare myself a pauper.
Lois Baer Barr
Lois Baer Barr took art history courses at the Prado Museum through the University of Madrid and writes poetry and fiction about Hispanic painters. Her work has appeared in Spanish and English at Alimentum, cream city review, Letralia, Southern Women's Quarterly and in anthologies such as Art from Art. An emerita professor of Spanish at Lake Forest College, Barr is a literacy tutor and a student of flamenco.
But I was afraid
of how sweet words sour in the press
of the years of the babies of the bills
of our disappointed standards and skin stretching
and the little wrinkles creeping in
of the black void when you go
of the sealed envelope I pressed to the lamp
and found beaming with cursive promises.
The Little Prince has golden hair his smile is
crooked his eyes are green and the wild birds
are flying south. He won’t stay.
No one has ever done what they could.
The black alleys in Belfast are filling with rain
like your hair slowly fills up with silver
between the borders of birthdays
when you’re not looking.
I could have said yes.
Bryana Joy is a writer and full-time artist fascinated by traditional art forms and the subtle beauty of literature. She spent twelve of her growing-up years in the Middle East and she and her husband are currently preparing to move to York, England for further study. Last year, she launched the Letters From The Sea Tower, a handmade monthly subscription letter full of watercolour sketches, paintings, and snippets of glory from the Great Books. She has one full-length collection of poetry (Having Decided To Stay, 2012) and her work has appeared in about a dozen literary journals.
Guest Editor's note: First, I want to thank Lorette Luzajic for this opportunity to go behind the scenes at The Ekphrastic Review, the journal that comes closest to being my home. Writing to art is my quickest fix for writer’s block, and I know many other writers here must feel the same way.
Next, thanks to all the writers who participated in this challenge. I even enjoyed reading the writing I turned away. I apologize for being picky, but I chose to make this a true challenge by accepting only what I considered the top 10. I know I’ll be called to pay for my heavy heart when Anubis weighs it against a feather. Readers may not notice I made cuts, since many of the poems are long.
I was looking for the usual surprise and delight that comes with writing competitions. My hope was that by selecting a wide range of approaches, I could balance some of the inevitable subjectivity of taste. I generally prefer shorter, compressed poems, but you’ll see that most of these are not short. Finalists ranged from prose poems, free verse, and a sonnet to haiku. Some stuck to ancient Egypt, some modern, some personal, some universal, and the haiku by Gabriel Rosenstock managed to combine the personal, universal, and eternal in just 17 syllables.
If a picture, any old picture, is worth a thousand words, I hope you’ll agree that this ancient Egyptian funerary boat is worth twice that and more.
Please visit my website: alariepoet.com.
Not a Toy
This small boat was made
to carry our souls
across the last dark river --
not to some insipid heaven
but to a new world
rich and familiar
as the one we knew
where we would feast again
on dates and honey
wear perfume in our hair
and gold collars at our necks
our bodies robed in linen
fine and light as air
as we watch dancers and acrobats
Instead we’ve come to rest
in a strange world
past the gates of eternity
from our beginnings
And yet the hands of those
that hold us here
can see and understand
how each small piece
was shaped and set
the skill that made us
so carefully and well
to fit the laws
of labor and desire-
as their hands meet ours
across time’s deep chasm
where our wooden oarsman
staring back at them
with ancient ivory eyes
Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has had work appearing in many print and online journals, and has an electronic chapbook, Things I Was Told Not to Think About, available as a free download from Praxis Magazine online. Currently she is enjoying the water and birdlife in such abundance here in Florida, as well as the wonderful community of poets and writers active on the internet — both endless sources of inspiration and delight.
Ancient Egyptian Funerary Boat
Over and over, the weighted line goes down, down, down
into the mouth of the roiling river to gage its depth as we
move downstream, our mast furled. A north wind threatens
to blow us off course if we aren’t careful.
My men strain at each oar. I am frozen in place like a
statue. Dare I move beyond this seat under the canopy? The
closed lotus in my hand begins to wilt. Its significance is
not lost on me.
I have seen the lotus close at dusk then drown. I have seen
it resurface again at dawn, rose-tinged with first-light; rose-
tinged and reborn. I know its meaning. I no longer ask
where we are going.
No, I no longer ask how long we will be gone or why the
libation vase is being filled, or ask who is worthy of its
offering, or why my men have shaved their heads. There
won’t be the usual picnic at the end of our journey.
No tears. I am simply touched by the poignancy of my
favourite singer’s lush songs that float across the water like
so many sprinkled flowers; each song accompanied by the
blind one’s harp and the sound of the plashing oars.
Jenene Ravesloot has written five books of poetry. She has published in The Ekphrastic Review, The Ekphrastic Challenge, After Hours Press, the Caravel Literary Arts Journal, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Packingtown Review, The Miscreant, Exact Change Only, THIS Literary Magazine, and other online journals, print journals, chapbooks, and anthologies. Jenene is a member of The Poets' Club of Chicago, the Illinois State Poetry Society, and Poets & Patrons. She received two Pushcart Prize nominations in 2018.
going to my own funeral
again . . . again . . .
no beginning . . . no end
Gabriel Rosenstock is a poet, tankaist and haikuist.
His multicultural blog (mostly in Irish/Gaelic):
His Amazon page:
Ancient Egyptian Funerary Boat
Carved in wood, these rowers of the dead
forever stare upon an endless Nile,
each with two eyes and fully-rounded head,
unlike the gods in flattened-out profile
on painted artifacts within this tomb.
These men are slaves, but men with power at last
to pull this boat beyond some fearful doom
the spirits drag in from their living past.
Flat on papyrus, one-eyed deities
have no perspective and assume a pose
that never changes, fixed within a frieze,
while every figure of a boatman rows
through godless time and space, his body free
in four dimensions, to eternity.
Sonnets are a special interest of Barbara Loots, whose poems are collected in Road Trip and Windshift, both from Kelsay Books, available on amazon.
My high school students were farm kids unaware of Art.
They knew dairy cows whose steamy breath condensed
into clouds of tiny droplets on chilly Wisconsin mornings.
They knew newborn calves and mangy barn cats
who wouldn't live to see the pink and orange dawn.
They knew uncles who had sunk to their waists in grain bins,
little cousins whose shirts got stuck in augers,
grandpas who had died when their tractors rolled over.
One year I chaperoned these students on a tour
of the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison
to see Picasso. Goya. Especially Grant Wood.
Culture — and Art — in a short course.
With rafters taller than barns,
the rooms echoed as snowy, booted feet
slapped against the cold marble tiles.
The girls giggled, pointing at Diana by Kenyon Cox,
a modest representation of the academic tradition
of the nude; the guys stole glances at the girls.
On the third floor and down a narrow corridor,
ancient art collections stood behind glass,
preserved by some miracle of grace.
In front of an Egyptian funerary boat,
several students halted, mouths open,
to see the carved men taking the dead
across the River Nile to the afterlife,
black spear-shaped oars clutched in
wooden hands whittled smooth and
rounded like small mounds of hay.
No one spoke; the great hall fell silent.
But the moment passed.
A student groaned, “When’s lunch?”
Briefly I had imagined they were awed --
funerals and death — Art worthy of study;
the Nile, I wanted to tell them,
was the source of fertility and farming.
It was many years later when I stood at the bank
of the Oconto River where my son scattered
Mother’s ashes into the swift current,
as was her dying wish.
I remembered my students
and their wide, gaping mouths.
Yes. Death is a passage, undiscovered,
a room taller than barns or galleries.
Art approaches death. But it cannot cross over,
which my students learned
long before I.
Sandra Frye is a retired English teacher who lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She has written poetry since the age of ten. Recently her focus has been on completing her memoirs. She has published her first memoir, African Dreams, about teaching English with the Peace Corps in Malawi from 1969-71. Currently she is writing her second memoir, Fatherless, about growing up in the 1950s as a child of divorce. Many of her poems are included in the second memoir.
Driftwood, Sweat, Blood and Pain
Took me two years of
Driftwood, sweat, blood.
Dabbing on paint for closed eyes,
For modesty cloths,
Pillars and oars. But
In those days of
Pre-trauma with toxic
Tar in my gullet,
Paddling was my vocation,
Death my premonition. This
Was how I remembered us
Until the tsunami struck when
Only three survived:
Brother, cousin, me and
The horror of that day. My
Needing an escape.
Needed something tangible
To overcome pain. For
I cry every night
Thanking Ra I was spared.
Grateful to see to touch
My replica funerary boat
Lamenting those lost. The
Toughest call is blame.
Mine alone to bear though
Deep down I know
I cannot bring ankh back
No matter the icon. Just
A humble model created.
My tribute, my crutch.
Hardly a penance,
Only my memory in
Driftwood, sweat, blood.
Born in Scotland of Irish lineage, Alun Robert is a prolific creator of lyrical verse achieving success
in poetry competitions in Europe and North America. His poems have featured in international literary magazines, anthologies and on the web. He is particularly inspired by ekphrastic challenges.
August, and Everything After
"For every joy, there is a price to be paid." -Egyptian proverb
row row row your boat
There is no air in my lungs. I am in flip flops and a black dress. I am too young to be here. An August funeral, beachside, Lake Ontario. In the pictures, my lipstick is perfect, my hair is windswept, I am pretty, I am reasonably composed. All lies: I am disintegrating. I can't tell what is real, or remember why I am crying. All of us are standing there, dazed and hollowed out. The sky is as clear and beautiful a blue as ever. Sailboats float past, carefree, and on the horizon, the ships dot the vista as if painted in where you'd expect them on a canvas. They do not know that our beloved has finally gone over that edge he courted for so long. We all file down to the shore, open our hands and spill sea salt into the fresh water. It was a small symbolic gesture, because my husband was a sailor. He should have been buried at sea.
gently down the stream
A few years ago, archeologists unearthed a sixty-foot long boat next to a necropolis in Egypt. Dated from the Third or Fourth dynasty, the vessel was some 4500 years old. It was intended to take the dead safely over the Nile and into the other world. The Egyptians' quaint and clever custom of burying everything important with its dead has long ignited curiosity from every corner. We sift through papyrus clues to the past, we feel the gravitas of centuries gone while contemplating curious ceremonial objects and mysterious gods. Is this small-scale sculpture of rowers on a funerary boat a sacred object, or a toy? I imagine a beautiful brown boy towing it through the sand. I dreamed about this boat before I saw it: rowers tugging us through a river without water. I felt grief expand as the boat began its descent to the underworld. I joined the women with raised arms, keening lamentations. Sometimes I still follow that ship into the night, floating into the emptiness and getting lost there. I kneel at all my tombs in the shadows where no one can see me.
merrily merrily merrily
After that terrible August and a handful of summers had gone by, I was sitting on a sidewalk patio, and overheard a woman talking to a friend. Sharing how she had survived the car crash that took her father and her son. She had an exquisite scarab pinned to her sweater that looked like a careful replica of an ancient amulet, and she explained to her companion that she'd been drawn to its historical significance as an emblem of renewal and rebirth. "It wasn't easy," she was saying, about all that she had lost. "For years, it was like I was choking on sand, buried alive in the desert. But one day I realized something important: there is more to life than death." Her words have always stayed with me.
life is but a dream
There is Bernini, and violets. There are olives and mangoes. There are books not yet read. There is champagne. We manage some ecstasy. We find laughter and jazz. We come to epiphanies, that imperfect love is perfect, that for now must be enough.
Lorette C. Luzajic
Lorette C. Luzajic is an award-winning mixed media collage artist from Toronto, Canada, whose artwork has been shown in galleries, museums, theatres, pubs, laundromats, banks, offices, billboards, and reality TV. She is also a writer, with poetry and prose pending or published in Cultural Weekly, KYSO Flash, Bookslut, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Rattle, and many more. Lorette is the founder and editor of The Ekphrastic Review. Visit her at www.mixedupmedia.ca.
A Pilgrimage to Abydos
We’ve ennobled death
By being made.
Dancing on urns,
Or in our boat--
Four feet of wood,
By linen twine,
The hull green,
Green as the trickster
Osiris – six-
Teen of us
Our stillness re-
Called the dead
Gods “the living
Ones,” and we
Are living too,
On the way
Not to our death,
But to a play
By being made.
David M. Katz
David M. Katz’s books of poems include Stanzas on Oz and Claims of Home, both published by Dos Madres Press. He’s also the author of The Warrior in the Forest, published by House of Keys Press. In addition to The Ekphrastic Review, poems of his have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Criterion, The Hopkins Review, Crab Orchard Review, and The Cortland Review. He is currently working on a new poetry collection, tentatively entitled Money.
I remember them—those, black, kohl-edged eyes.
I painted them on people I sculpted from clay
those days when teachers let us play to learn.
My statues didn’t row a funerary boat with
Egyptians looking distracted as if oaring
halfway between sleep and dreaming.
I grew and forgot them until kohl-rimmed eyes
re-appeared on some of my students. Mideast
girls at the university painted them on eyelids
to emphasize their black, fluid eyes. Then,
one night, hundreds of black-rimmed eyes
formed kaleidoscopes festooning my walls.
They landed there during a sleepless night
when Uncle Will almost died, pole piercing
his chest, like a stake through a vampire’s heart.
But the eye prisms didn’t see that. Glazed
over, they stared at me instead—cut into my chest.
Sometimes, they still sneak into my dreams.
Lindsey Martin-Bowen’s fourth book, Where Water Meets the Rock (39 West Press 2017) contains a poem that reaped an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s 85th Contest. Her third book, CROSSING KANSAS with Jim Morrison (in chapbook form) was a finalist in the Quills Edge Press 2015-2016 contest and won the KAC 2017 “Looks Like a Million.” Her poems have appeared in many lit zines, including New Letters, I-70 Review, Thorny Locust, Flint Hills Review, Coal City Review, Phantom Drift, and Rockhurst Review. Poetry is her way of singing.
Of Pomp and Circumstance
What frail ship they left,
that pottery could shepherd me
across cold river, grey dead water.
Set adrift to find divine
course to a beneficent shore.
Instead my decaying molecules divide,
fall away from one another,
their memories lost
in an unending vacuum,
my detritus food for new life.
Better to take the fragile clay of life
for what it is, and rejoice.
Melissa Rendlen is a pseudo-retired urgent care physician who has been devoting more of her time to writing poetry. In the past three years, she has had poems in Poets Reading the News, Ink in Thirds, Underfoot Poetry, Nixes Mate Review Anthology, The Missing Slate, Indolent Press What Rough Beast, L’ephemere, and the Plath Poetry Project to name a few. Her first chapbook is forthcoming from Clare Song Birds this summer.
Monet’s Winter on the Seine, Lavacourt
These blues were never in the world.
He would have had to let his palette
find this benign freeze, this landscape
still as a stoic’s paradise. The ice must
have lain beneath his frayed gray gloves
as he thrust his brush stiff across
the canvas. His red spreads from the sun.
Nothing else moves. In this infinity
of cold, this pitiless lucidity of fading light,
the dead walk across the river into town.
Jack Ridl's Practicing to Walk Like a Heron was named best collection of poetry for 2013 by Indiefab/ForeWord Reviews. His collection Broken Symmetry was selected by The Society of Midland Authors as the best collection of poetry for 2006. Billy Collins selected his Against Elegies for the Center for Book Arts (NYC) Chapbook Award. In April his new collection Saint Peter and the Goldfinch will be released. All three full collections are from Wayne State University Press.
Dear Ekphrastic Readers, Some of you might be aware already that I do a column on Wine and Art at Good Food Revolution. For the Valentine's Day edition, I wrote about erotic art history and what wines pair best with the contemplation of six sexy masterpieces. Click here to read it. Cheers! Lorette
Phryne the Impious
Phryne the beautiful courtesan of whom it was said
her glorious body odor shamed the rose
one day found herself in trouble, accused of impiety.
She trembled before the basalt-eyed jurors.
She could feel the cold reeking cheek of the cup of hemlock
jammed against her own
when suddenly her lawyer in lewd inspiration
ripped her gown open from throat to waist.
Now it was the jurors who trembled.
They found her innocent on the spot.
The lawyer juror contended,
"Just because she did it doesn't mean she's guilty."
The priest juror reasoned,
"The gods must have loved Phryne very much
to give her this righteous pair."
The scholar juror noted, "Her bust is classically bathykolpian,
if we give Bathy and Kolpos their ancient meanings of
Deep and Gulf. Let the fair-clefted darlings swing free!"
The goat farmer juror thought of his randy ungulates
and stared at her with his dirty, pretty yellow eyes.
He mumbled, "Plenty of the best cream went into those.
I'd like to be her goat daddy, prance on my cloven hooves
up and down the sway of her spine
and bleat my moans on her hip gold."
Another sighed only, "Sweet honey in the rock."
But the last juror of all remembered a flower he'd seen,
impossibly rooted in a wall of stone:
the flushed round of a peony gazing up
with its pointed red-gold eye,
lifting its pink to the dangerous sky.
Margaret Benbow: "My poems have been published in The Georgia Review, The Antioch Review, and many other places. The collection STALKING JOY won the Walt McDonald First Book award, and was published by TTUP. I also write fiction. BOY INTO PANTHER AND OTHER STORIES won the Many Voices Project award, and was printed in 2018 by New Rivers Press."
Red in Six Sections
The simplest observation is this:
there is little sublimity in division,
but proximity facilitates immersion.
It is not the image we will leave
this world or its future inhabitants.
History does not rummage
through the glories, only ruins remain.
Standing before you is the shade of my transgressions.
Of depth and enormity and fracture
of subtleties in monochrome.
Plasticity, verisimilitude, invention
by right ought to fade
a presence with no context save the making.
I will never admit to expansion.
It’s never as easy as field and figure
when the plane itself—though not
the object—aggresses. Sublimity
is our mother tongue, our source
of fundamental recollection—countless
brushstrokes publish wonder, negate
by accumulation. There you are again,
on the other side of a red field
that denies direction. I refuse
to diminish our separation.
I refuse to bring these barriers down.
The simplest observation is this:
there is nothing to read
and any stride toward the heroic
sublime necessarily begins a blemish
on an otherwise pristine canvas.
What would have been had we
left this world unaffected.
What is the point
of a monument that outlives
its observers? Why not leave
a footprint in sand?
The bridge exceeds the span
of land it calls its destination.
Nolan Meditz was born and raised on Long Island. He received his MFA from Hofstra University in 2014 and his Ph.D. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2018. His poetry has appeared in Roanoke Review, Califragile, deLuge Journal, and Mockingheart Review among other publications. He currently lives in Weatherford, OK, where he teaches writing at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Not Everyone in Esfahan is Interested in Art History
Unknown Qajar House, Esfahan, similar to Lariha House, Yazd, c. 1869
The street is full of washing machines. I am walking in an alley north of Hafez Street in Esfahan, where the cool, airy passages of the Safavid bazaar spill out onto muddy streets bristling with cleaning products and white goods. The shadow of the Friday Mosque’s minaret lengthens over Aabsal, Pakshoma, Daewoo, Samsung.
From between two shops, an old man beckons to me. He is simply dressed in a collarless shirt and a worn, but well-fitted, grey jacket. "Salom, xanom – beya," he calls. The doorway that he is sitting in belongs to an older city of Persian spice, silk-traders, and nightingales. Wooden and arched, the threshold has two door-knockers – a heavy one for men to hammer and a lighter one for women to touch, so that the wrong person will not answer. It looks like the door to another world. The old man takes out a key and opens the lock. "Come, madam," he repeats, "You and your friend too. Peace to you both. How is your health?"
We go in. The cobbled floor runs downwards to a round hall; from its low, domed, dusty roof a lamp hangs, unlit. We follow another passage to the right and emerge into an enclosed garden. My friend is a Scotsman who spends half the year on oil rigs and half travelling the world on a shoestring snapped and retied in five places. "Ezdevâj kardid?" our guide asks, "Are you married?" – I have been here a week and I already know that one. No, I am not married, and no, I really couldn’t explain why not, but if I were, it certainly would not be to this man who has tried to borrow money from me twice in as many days.
The garden is abandoned, overgrown with desiccated ivy in places, but mainly just empty; the ground is dirty and the fountain is dry. Away from the street, the silence is lucent. Our guide starts to talk. I am lost within seconds, but he is either unable or unwilling to believe that we cannot follow his fluent commentary. Embarrassed, I nod hopefully and enthusiastically until, finally, he leads us up a stairway and into a large room with three filigree windows open to the sky.
The paper is coming away from the white walls in great sticking-plaster swathes, like lace petticoats torn from a vintage wedding dress; mirror fragments set in the ceiling glimmer with the diamond light of a fairy tale. The paper left on the walls is covered with miniature paintings: elegant women and pastoral scenes. I recognize a Renoir, copied in diminished detail: Jeunes Filles au Piano, transmuted but unmistakable. I’m intrigued. What are they doing here? In a city whose decoration so far has been lavishly geometric, tile upon turquoise tile, soaring pattern picked out with the intricate name of god, these representational images, secular and wholly foreign, are out of place and, to me, weirdly familiar.
The old man grabs my arm, breaking the law by the way. "Mal-e ke," he says urgently, "Mal-e ke." For some reason I remember, correctly as it later turns out, that malek means king in Arabic. Maybe, I think, it is one of the many Arabic loan words into Farsi and means royal here in Iran too. "He’s saying these are royal apartments," I say confidently to my loan-shark companion. I smile at the old man, delighted to have seen this derelict paradise, and relieved to have understood. Still grasping my arm, he leads us back to the street and, refusing money or thanks, ushers us out into the world of household appliances, with motorcycles stuttering through the pervasive rubbish.
This was in my first week in Esfahan. Later, I found a library in the Office of Scientific and International Co-operation at the university, and I discovered that these courtyard houses with white, picture-encrusted walls are far from unusual: they are a common late nineteenth-century design, the copied paintings – often actual postcards or European fashion plates, pasted to the walls – a symptom of Iran’s tense but covetous relationship with the West. Later still, my Farsi improved and I realized that mal-e ke is not derived from Arabic at all; it is a compound simply of mal– property – and ke– whose. The gentleman in the grey jacket was asking whose property I was, to whom I belonged. His interest in art history was less than I had thought, and his curiosity about my marital status much greater.
When I went back to see the house again – alone this time – the doorway was gone, or at least I could not find it. But for the rest of my stay I listened more carefully, trying to hear not what I wanted to be told but what was really being said.
A Cambridge native, Sophy lives in Rome, where she teaches archaeology by day, writes by night, and stalks the Romantic poets whenever she can.
Piano Notes and Dance
The piano notes are raindrops;
A flute is the breeze.
Her dress is layered white laces;
His suit is blue.
Her head rests on his shoulder,
And his broad roughened hand
Encircles her waist.
They swirl - blue and white -
Water and sky.
Chromatic piano chords in a torrent.
Will their dance be longer than spring?
Joseph Kleponis had taught English and American Literature in schools north of Boston, Massachusetts. His poetry has appeared nationally and internationally in journals such as The Aurorean, The Penmen Review, Leaflet: The Journal of the New England Teachers of English, paperwasp, Eucalypt, and other literary magazines in print and online.
In Paris, beneath the lush rooms
the rabbit hangs by its feet,
eye dilated and white,
dead-eye, but whose brown
fur feathers to be touched
and then the copper jug
suspended beside its back,
orange bulb blooming,
full of wine, perhaps,
or stale water.
still life, remnant of moments--
of paw in dirt, view of grass,
sound vibrating in ears,
punctured flesh and torpid light
before the aperture closed.
One of a series of dead rabbits
and hares, done after fish and forks
and light-taut glass. A series of darkened
walls hung with luminous fur,
with jugs and a wisp, perhaps, of a flower.
It is the suspension of fear--
the mouth forever frozen open,
the suggestion of ribs that enclose
the stilled heart, one ear
dotted with the orange-red of the jug
to balance the composition,
to appease the eye’s need for symmetry,
to provide some resolution to the rabbit
hung, forever now, beyond death.
Ann McGlinn has published short stories and poems in a variety of journals, including Art/Life, Poem, Cutbank, Rosebud, Quarterly West and The Flexible Persona. Her first novel, El Penco, was published by Cuidono Press in 2014. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on FB and Twitter!
Scroll down to search, for list of writers, and for archive by month.
(use search box above)
Sherry Barker Abaldo
Meghan Rose Allen
Maura Alia Badji
Mary Jo Balistreri
Karin Wraley Barbee
Lois Baer Barr
Janée J. Baugher
B. Elizabeth Beck
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Karen G. Berry
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Charles M. Boyer
Marion Starling Boyer
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Betsy Holleman Burke
Mary Lou Buschi
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
Gonzalinho da Costa
Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
Faith M. Deruelle
John Scott Dewey
Marc Alan Di Martino
Catherine Ruffing Drotleff
Kari Ann Ebert
Suzanne E. Edison
Kurt Cole Eidsvig
Tara A. Elliott
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Jordan E. Franklin
Jen Stewart Fueston
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
Steven Wittenberg Gordon
Grace Marie Grafton
Emily Reid Green
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
Laura Quinn Guidry
Andrea L. Hackbarth
Matthew E. Henry
Judith Lee Herbert
A. J. Huffman
Pat Snyder Hurley
Arya F. Jenkins
Brandon D. Johnson
Crystal Condakes Karlberg
David M. Katz
Christopher T. Keaveney
Olivia J. Kiers
Loretta Collins Klobah
Kim Peter Kovac
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
Fiona Tinwei Lam
John R. Lee
Clarissa Mae de Leon
David Ross Linklater
Gregory E. Lucas
Lorette C. Luzajic
M. L. Lyons
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Diane G. Martin
Mary C. McCarthy
Kevin J. McDaniel
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
Ann E. Michael
David P. Miller
Stacy Boe Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
Sharon Fish Mooney
Thomas R. Moore
Diane V. Mulligan
Mark A. Murphy
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
Casey Elizabeth Newbegin
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Andrew K. Peterson
Laurel S. Peterson
Daniel J. Pizappi
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Molly Nelson Regan
Amie E. Reilly
J. Stephen Rhodes
Jeannie E. Roberts
Ralph La Rosa
George W. Ross
Mary C. Rowin
Iain Lim Jun Rui
Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Gregory St. Thomasino
Brian A. Salmons
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Pamela Joyce Shapiro
Courtney O'Banion Smith
Janice D. Soderling
Helen Leslie Sokolsky
David Allen Sullivan
Kim Cope Tait
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Mary Ellen Talley
Liza Nash Taylor
Memye Curtis Tucker
Janine Pommy Vega
David Joez Villaverde
Loretta Diane Walker
Sue Brannan Walker
Joanna M. Weston
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Morgan Grayce Willow
Shannon Connor Winward
Amy Louise Wyatt
William Butler Yeats
Cynthia Robinson Young
Abigail Ardelle Zammit
Our primary objective is to promote writing, art and artists today and through history. All works of art are used with permission of the creator or publisher, OR under public domain, OR under fair use. If any works have been used or credited incorrectly, please alert us so we can fix it.