“Devotion” by Brianna Locke

Dream House, Later by Susan MacMurdy, collage of a house on a calendar

Image: “Dream House, Later” by Susan MacMurdy. “Devotion” was written by Brianna Locke for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, January 2023, and selected as the Artist’s Choice. (PDF / JPG)


Brianna Locke


Think about: the sun, climbing
through windows
into pearl-grey morning, gently
waking the body.
How light expands outward
from the horizon,
And the breeze, playing
with leaves, like fingers
through a beloved’s hair.
And the days. Remnants of
the hardest rolling over
to finally rest.
And the bright stillness
of everything,
your lungs fresh and wide
with every new breath.
Each beat of your heart,
inside of your ribs,
a small knocking,
the pulse
reminding the house
what keeps it warm.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
January 2023, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Susan MacMurdy: “After reading and rereading the wonderful poems written in response to my collage, what finally helped me decide was imagining the poem and my collage hanging side by side on a wall where they could talk to one another. ‘Devotion’ seemed to expand and deepen the conversation started by my artwork. ‘Dream House, Later’ was one of several collages I completed during that first pandemic summer. I set up a summer studio at a friend’s house north of New York City. The simple building depicted in my collage was both my work and living space. And everything I needed. The lines: ‘And the days. Remnants of / the hardest rolling over / to finally rest’ recalled my use of cut-up calendars as a reminder of counting, losing track of, and somehow surviving those difficult days. Dreams were put on hold or deferred. Priorities shifted. The final lines sum up the hopeful image of heartbeats at the open door.”

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