René Magritte was fourteen when his mother drowned herself
in the Sambre River hooded in crepe
smelling of old clothes and mal intent.
He searched her face for a glimpse of eyeholes
for a way in, a warning as to what
his fate might be without her.
Upon a backless daybed
her sarcophagus is set in place
bronzed fruit of buried mourning absent of air.
Her drab casket sits up like a child.
It is not a pipe or a fish or a sculpture
but an ill-shaped coffin conceived in grief and grizzly jest.
It is his mother immortalized
in a funerary box with wreathed handles,
madder-brown, darkened with age.
A chime sounds on the other side of the wall
a mirror padded with memory.
A boy becomes an artist.
Bill Ratner is a Poets & Writers Readings and Workshops Grant recipient, his spoken-word performances are featured on National Public Radio’s Good Food, The Business, and KCRW’s Strangers, he is a 9-time winner of The Moth Story Slams. His poems, essays, and stories are published in The Chiron Review, The Baltimore Review, Rattle Magazine’s Rattlecast, Pleiades, KYSO Flash, South Florida Poetry Journal, Willawaw Journal, Missouri Review Audio, and other journals. Bill is a voice actor for cartoons, computer games, documentaries, and movie trailers. More info at http://billratner.com/author • @billratner
The Ekphrastic Review
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