Come, press your eye to my kaleidoscope.
Bits of glass radiate in a starburst: sea urchin,
anemone. All the colors of a coral reef
and then some: glacier pool turquoise,
safety-vest orange, amethyst, emerald, cobalt.
A 10-year-old’s favorite crayon: magenta.
Metallic car paint jewel tones: it’s the rose window
of Notre Dame, a fused-glass necklace. I want it.
But wait. Look closer. The colors are objects: half
a small pencil sharpener. A toy microphone, Barbie-sized.
Miniature fork, segmented red wheel, orange heart.
A Lego. Blue, yellow, green Tiddlywinks.
A melted blob, pink, darker than bubble gum.
A purple star. Hard to recognize everything,
but along one edge: a pure white bead
and the planet Earth, shrunk smaller than a marble.
Not metal. Not jewels. Not bits of glass.
Plastic. Collected from the gullet of an albatross chick
found floating in the Pacific Gyre.
Photographed on black velvet.
You’ve probably heard: far out in the ocean
drift swirls of plastic, a soup
neither beautiful nor symmetrical.
You know how it is. Things float away from us.
Look again. It’s a miracle, this never-ending
lollipop. Fireworks that last forever.
Katy McKinney divides her time between her home in rural Trout Lake, Washington and in the winters, a sailboat on which she and her husband can be found cruising anywhere from Mexico to Panama. Her poetry has been published in a number of journals (The Sun, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Windfall, and others) as well as in several anthologies. Her first book, Fireproofing the Woods, was published in 2013 by Dancing Moon Press and was the winner of the 2019 North Street Book Prize in poetry. It’s available through www.katymckinney.com.
The Ekphrastic Review
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