“In a Moment” by J. A. Lagana

Humid by Joshua Eric Williams, black, gray, and white drawing of scribbles resolving into what appears to be a single large tree

Image: “Humid” by Joshua Eric Williams. “In a Moment” was written by J. A. Lagana for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2022, and selected as the Editor’s Choice. (PDF / JPG)


J. A. Lagana


any outdated certainty runs weak
like a walker’s grasp
as the dog,
a greyhound or maybe the more reliable
retriever,      momentarily splits       & in that second
of letting go
heads toward the muddied field
with little consideration
of whether it is best to stay       or to (momentarily) flee.
Oh muddied footprints.
Oh round circular trees.       Such beauty
& freedom.       Such feeling.       In one split-second
the charcoal spread of morning,
the way a day leans toward grey.
Ribbon       -swirl along illuminated horizon.
What comes afterwards
is anybody’s guess.
The pause
a mid-point.
Consider how a life might play out.
What is constant
in a moment?
A tree, the cement & tangle, the ability to let go.
Storm & swivel & stream & doubt,
scribble of ribbons, no bungle or reassurance—
imagine       the       self,
you—     rooted, blossoming.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
November 2022, Editor’s Choice


Comment from the editor, Megan O’Reilly: “It’s difficult to capture a sense of motion, of momentum, with only words, and J. A. Lagana does it so effectively here, giving the reader the feeling of being right there in the ‘charcoal spread of morning,’ experiencing ‘the cement & tangle, the ability to let go.’ Joshua Eric Williams’ image strikes me as expressing both movement and stillness, and ‘In a Moment’ reflects that contrast. The tone of the poem, and the artwork, is perfectly summed up in its succinct and gorgeous last line–‘you–     rooted, blossoming.’”

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