“Cobalt Blue” by Christine Michel

Nine Lives by Jeff Doleman

Image: “Nine Lives” by Jeff Doleman. “Cobalt Blue” was written by Christine Michel for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, February 2018, and selected as the Artist’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]


Christine Michel


He comes galloping to a stop.
Just three feet in front of me,
wanting me to prove that I am,
in fact, loyal as ever. So of course
I pick him up, soft fur clinging
to my jacket from the static of
leather seats.

They were a packaged set. Car
and cat. The day I first parked
the cobalt and baby blue beauty,
he was huddled on my stoop, rain
soaking matted fur to the bone.
Sometimes you just can’t turn down
what Fate has in store for you.

And now, years later, he’s proud.
Long tail fanning in the spring
morning, eyes narrowed tracking
something too small for me to see.
So, I wipe my forehead with my
sleeve and continue rubbing the
wax in. I wonder if he listens for the

purr of the engine, or watches for
the blue that stands out within
his world of grey.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
February 2018, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Jeff Doleman: “We were a dog family until my father found a kitten curled up in a flower bed outside his office. My parents have since fostered countless stray cats. I took this photograph during a walk with my father around his hometown in rural Oregon. Coincidentally, many poems responding to the image featured a paternal theme. Although the narrator of ‘Cobalt Blue’ could be anyone, I visualize my father, fixing his 1956 Ford Thunderbird while one of his cats lounges nearby. The poem uses simple, honest language to depict the mysterious, compassionate bonds that often form between people and other species. It stood out to me for its balanced perspective and its quiet sensitivity.”

Rattle Logo