Low tide. Four dark fishermen wade in from off shore. Three stand at the green water edge. Cloth pants heavy with the sea and black sand surges at ankles. Fish flash silver in grass baskets. Boats, slack and splintered, anchor into silt. Two shacks on stilts, standing high over water like egrets poised for flight. An ivory reflection of twilight clouds. Long shadows. Somewhere on this canvas of brooding green, coral, and black hide my sister’s small fingerprints. Her imprints recollect the viscosity of the oil paint, how it beckoned. How it hardened into the topography of dreams. From the wall in a wintry place halfway around the world from its birthplace, it whispers of soft nights and sweet fat sausage over white rice, of salt cracking on our skin and sand crunching between our molars, of the thrumming, enveloping glow of those carrying our murmuring blood. Trace the strokes, and know that we are suspended between day and night, water and shore, leaving and coming, thirsty and slaked. Cast the net and pull in an absence. An ache. A touchstone. A heartbeat.
Ann Guy: "This is a poem inspired by an oil painting that my father bought in 1971 from an unknown street artist in Cebu City, Philippines. The paint was still wet when he brought it home, and it traveled with us to the midwestern United States when we immigrated in 1975."
Ann Guy is a writer and recovering engineer in lockdown with her husband and two young children in Oakland, CA. She received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction in 2020 and her MA in English with Creative Writing in Fiction in 2018 from San Francisco State University, where she received a Distinguished Graduate Award from both programs. Her writing has appeared in Entropy, Motherwell, and elsewhere. She is currently at work on a memoir about identity, loss, and resilience.
The Ekphrastic Review
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