“Camouflage” by Katie Kemple

El Camino de Esmeralda by Danelle Rivas, colorful painting of a woman in a dress surrounded by vines and many items, including a uterus

Image: “El Camino de Esmeralda” by Danelle Rivas. “Camouflage” was written by Katie Kemple for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, May 2022, and selected as the Artist’s Choice. (PDF / JPG)


Katie Kemple


The images couldn’t
tell if they started inside
her head,
or if they
existed because she
could perceive them.
The hand of it all
kept painting to keep
them in frame.
If uterus,
then flag and Ferris
wheel. If octopus,
then keytar
and gargoyle.
If hummingbird
If you feed an image
a dumpling,
your stomach
will twist into
a blue lizard.
It’s so cyclical.
My effigy enters—
and exits out
the window
with chopsticks.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
May 2022, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Danelle Rivas: “Although many of the poems were very evocative, I was was particularly drawn to ‘Camouflage’ because, like the painting, it’s a kaleidoscope, a tumult of words like the articles within the dress. I like the way the words of the objects feel tossed in the poem and the line ‘the hand of it all, kept painting to keep them in frame’ is perfect as it describes the elements hemmed in within the magic frock. There is a true understanding of the whirl of images captured in this poem and the last lines, my effigy enters—swirls leaves, and exits out the window with chopsticks is everything.”

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