August 21, 2015

Ekphrastic Challenge, July 2015: Editor’s Choice

 

Photograph by Aparna Pathak

[download broadside]

__________

Michael Meyerhofer

CRUELEST OF ALL ARE THE GODS WHO NEVER FROWN

I am tired of goats walking on ledges—
how calmly they disregard their own peril,
how even those nubby little horns
seem less like swirls of keratin
than middle fingers poised above faces
that have evolved into wide, permanent grins.
Maybe it’s our ancestors’ fault
for wanting smiles on their milk cartons
instead of missing children.
Did you know that goats sometimes
get their heads stuck in fences and have to wait
until a farmer comes by to free them?
It’s the horns. To remove them
is called disbudding. It takes a tool
like an Inquisitor’s pliers, castration bands
that resemble swollen wedding rings,
and a big glass of water to soak them in.

Ekphrastic Challenge, July 2015
Editor’s Choice Winner

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__________

Comment from the editor, Timothy Green, on his selection: “Part of the fun in making this selection after the artist’s choice is highlighting a poem that’s very different from the other winner. While this month’s image filled many poets with either anxiety or awe, no one but Michael Meyerhofer responded this way—with disdain. Coupled with a voice as sure-footed as these goats on the ledge themselves, the effect is transformative—what were once faces of casual confidence suddenly become smug and menacing. That’s no easy feat, and makes for a truly memorable poem.”

For more on Michael Meyerhofer, visit his website.

Note: This poem has been published exclusively online as part of our monthly Ekphrastic Challenge, in which we ask poets to respond to an image provided by a selected artist. This July, the image was a photograph by Aparna Pathak. We received 117 entries, and the artist and Rattle’s editor each chose their favorite. Aparna Pathak’s choice was posted the previous Friday. For more information on the Ekphrastic Challenge visit its page. See other poets’ responses or post your own by joining our Facebook group.