July 24, 2015

Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015: Editor’s Choice


Photograph by Alisa Golden

[download broadside]


Martin Willitts, Jr.


Welcome to Laurel, Delaware,
population three thousand seven hundred
where the Route 9 sign hides
embarrassed to be associated with the Laurel Blue Hens
of the Eastern Shore Baseball League.
We are the proud home of many of our governors
and no one could care less.
We are the location of the sweet potato blight,
one of our crowning accomplishments.
Notice our balloon construction houses.
We like to put up a fuss about trash collection day;
it is almost a weekly celebration.
The Old Christ Church is located near the millpond,
has a flattened barrel vault ceiling,
but some say it is haunted by ghosts of slave auctions.
Route 9 once ran through a cow pasture,
but was straightened out by geography.
Saw a moose on the baseball pitcher’s mound.
Some say the result of the potato blight
was so many governors being born here.
Now I gave you the one minute tour,
do you still want directions out of here?
Most people do. Route 9 tends to disappear.

Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015
Editor’s Choice Winner

[download audio]


Comment from the the editor on his selection: “From Boston, where the photograph was actually taken, we journey down to the other end of Route 9. Willitts did his homework to bring the town of Laurel, Delaware, to life with the sense of false nostalgia that inhabits much of Americana. Both funny and sad, it made me see the photograph in an unexpected way.”

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 June, the image was a photograph by Alisa Golden. We received 141 entries, and the artist and Rattle‘s editor each chose their favorite. Golden’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.