“Broken Places by Daylight” by Sandra Kasturi

Truck Stop Shell by Greg Clary, photo of a closed and abandoned Shell gas station

Image: “Truck Stop Shell” by Greg Clary. “Broken Places by Daylight” was written by Sandra Kasturi for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2022, and selected as the Editor’s Choice. (PDF / JPG)


Sandra Kasturi


What to do when buildings have not quite caved
in to the demands of their roofs, the quarrels
of their blown windows, the fallen bricks saved
against a leaning wall, lost amid sorrel
springing wild and ever wilder, escaping
the boundaries of an imaginary garden?
When the shells of buildings still stand, reshaping
themselves, refusing to fall, their ardent
decayed displays are their own flowering,
that collapsing tiled concavity, rude
with a different flavour of souring
promise—the last dull shine, a gloss imbued
with failing years and childhood’s spectral palms,
the ragged song of timbers’ splintered psalms.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
April 2022, Editor’s Choice


Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “I always love a good sonnet, and this is a great one, full of music and unexpected rhymes. The poem renders in crisp lines the beauty of urban decay that’s found in the original photograph. We often choose poems that move somewhere surprising, but this sonnet captures in words what the photographer captures in light, and I kept coming back to it.”

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