“An Accounting” by Joanna Preston

Ekphrastic Challenge, January 2017: Editor’s Choice


Days In San Francisco #1, 1984 by Harry Wilson

Image: “Days in San Francisco #1, 1984” by Harry Wilson. “An Accounting” was written by Joanna Preston for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, January 2017, and selected by Timothy Green as the Editor’s Choice winner. (PDF / JPG)


Joanna Preston


And the days spill like soot from a fireplace,
ash of them dusting skin.

Days hoarded like krugerrands.
Days transfixed, pinned

like beetles to the pages
of her clothes. Their passage a shuffle

of dried leaves, hoarse whisper
of an overdue bill. She plucks

unattended days out of the air
hey presto and a shower of doves.

Days like confetti litter the streets.
Days like bankers litter the streets.

How they gather, the days. Haggard moths
to a lantern. Hungry mouths

to a soup canteen.
A paper boat of wasted days

unfolds in the gutter, forgets itself
in the rain.

Ekphrastic Challenge, January 2017
Editor’s Choice Winner


Comment from the editor on this selection: “Preston has crafted a poem full of great images and great music, and at the end of the day I think that’s all poetry really wants. While many other poets had similar reactions to Wilson’s photograph—maybe it’s the year, too; 1984 is now 33 years gone—this was the poem that best captured the emotion of these fleeting days.”

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