“Curriculum Vitae” by Dante Di Stefano

Cold Sun by Jeanne Wilkinson, sepia photograph of an abandoned shopping cart in a snowy landscape

Image: “Cold Sun” by Jeanne Wilkinson. “Curriculum Vitae” was written by Dante Di Stefano for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2023, and selected as the Artist’s Choice. (PDF / JPG)


Dante Di Stefano


When I was young, I wrote a long poem
about a shopping cart overturned in
the Susquehanna River and I called it
a psalm and I can still recall the sun-
light in that poem and how the muddy
green water eddied through it and how time
slowed down as I waded through its shallows.
I think there was an angel in it, one
of Blake’s, dancing on the rusty right front
wheel, pointing to the invisible moon
orbiting the distant planet of all
the poetry I would one day commit
to paper and windpipe and atmosphere
and intestine and aching knuckle bone.
And now, in middle age, I don’t know if
the sun rises or sets in my poems,
but I know it is there, way out beyond
the overpass, and I’m here at the edge
of the desolate parking lot, where stray
cart and mud and snow commingle and God
is in the chain link and the streetlight wires
that hopscotch my view of the horizon,
and I believe that one day, when I’m gone,
sparrowing deep underground, I’ll still be
spiraling in the center of my lines,
voyaging along the turnpikes of verbs
enjambed in black and white, constellated
in ink on a page, syllabled to life.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
December 2023, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Jeanne Wilkinson: “I have many favorites in this group of poems. Some of my friends read also, all coming up with different choices, making me go back and read again, again, again; this was a very pleasurable problem. Several of the poems gave me goosebumps, but I kept coming back to one that made me shiver every time I read it, and still does. It’s ‘Curriculum Vitae’ and I love the mood, which seems to me infused with luminous sepia tones, matching the atmosphere of my photograph: bleak, lonely, but not without hope. Bottom line, this poet had me at Blake’s angel.”

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