“Abduction” by Kate Gaskin

Ekphrastic Challenge, May 2015: Editor’s Choice


Painting by Åsa Antalffy Eriksson

[download broadside]


Kate Gaskin


When was the last
time I touched your hair
pale as milk, face wan

as the carton that claimed it?
Another day the trees
knit tighter to the one

before until the forest chokes.
But it wasn’t, as I’d remembered,
a great adventure,

packing sandwiches,
coming home when there was
nothing better to do.

My love, they found you not
in a copse of firs
but interred, after a wretch

of weeks, bone-white
and weathered
in a fist of gravel.

Has it been this way
forever? You holding
the basketball that night

beneath a sky scattershot
with stars, and then
the sound of you gone,

how the ball bounced once,
twice, then rolled to a stop
in the empty parking lot.

Ekphrastic Challenge, May 2015
Editor’s Choice Winner

[download audio]


Comment from the editor, Timothy Green, on his selection: “Choosing your favorite from a large stack of poems is easy: Just read them all and wait for your blood to run cold. Kate Gaskin’s poem is chilling, but it’s also a well-crafted lesson in poetic symbolism and syntax, winding its way to the final heart-stopping image. I wish I could forget a few of the lines, but I know that I won’t be able to.”

Note: This poem has been published exclusively online as part of our quarterly Ekphrastic Challenge, in which we ask poets to respond to an image provided by a selected artist. This May, the image was a painting by Åsa Antalffy Eriksson. We received 187 entries, and the artist and Rattle‘s editor each chose their favorite. Åsa’s choice was posted last Friday. For more information on the Ekphrastic Challenge visit its page. See other poets’ responses or post your own by joining our Facebook group.

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