After a feverish night,
she brings the quieted babe
to the edge of the wood.
Her narrow path is well trodden,
soil worn smooth by the passing of many feet.
The air is crisp, the scent of green life and gray decay
mingle in the cool air wafting from the dark forest.
She cradles the baby in her lap, her farm hands dark
against the luminescent child,
her daughters’ fair skin
blending with the ashen tones
of the swaddling cloth.
O babe, world of wonder and beauty,
sweet scented perfection.
In a gesture so subtle, so distinct,
she leans back at the appearance
of a slight Slavic figure,
hooded, who now bends tenderly to the child
as if to breathe in her still scent.
One hand digs into the folds of her baby’s blanket
while the other falls away.
This poem was written as part of the surprise ekphrastic Halloween challenge.
Elizabeth Burnside's poems have been been published in the I-70 Review, Fourth River, Plum Tree Tavern and The Ekphrastic Review, among other places. She found this painting one of the most haunting of the Halloween Challenge.
The Ekphrastic Review
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