“In the Museum of Cold Ideas” by Ginny Lowe Connors

Ekphrastic Challenge, February 2016: Editor’s Choice


Photograph by Dave Thewlis
Photograph: “Met” by Dave Thewlis. “In the Museum of Cold Ideas” was written by Ginny Lowe Connors for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, February 2016, and selected by Timothy Green as the Editor’s Choice winner.

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Ginny Lowe Connors


We were feeling very black and white,
very automatic. Our fingernails
were letting go, our eyelashes,
the lobes of our ears. Invisibility
drifted over us like fine gray soot.

We could almost remember the colors of snow—
shadows, wind, diamonds catching light,
colors whirling and sharp. Then softly sighing.
We felt them pressing behind our eyes,
but couldn’t quite …

What do you call them? They are—where?
In the museum of cold ideas
we went up and down stairs, looking
for the Winter Room. Found instead a bench
where we sat with silhouettes.

Is it possible to dream in black and white?
Boxes bisected air. Squares skinned the building
and rose up from a shallow rectangle,
the reflecting pool. We just sat there for a while
with the others, reflecting, surrounded

by rows of rectangles. A tracery of cold air on some,
sparkle of lost coins just beneath others. Boxes
yearned toward us in their not quite perfect rows.
This is where feelings are stored now,
in fretworks of frames all the same size.

Ekphrastic Challenge, February 2016
Editor’s Choice Winner

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Comment from the editor: “From a beautifully composed, but also earthly and human photograph, Ginny Lowe Connors builds an otherworldly science fiction realm, one that grips and unsettles from the first line. Dave Thewlis’s photograph, for me, conjured a feeling of journey and connection, so it was shocking to see a poem create the oppose, a sense of isolation and disconnect. It’s also just a well-written and imaginative poem, on top of that.”

For more information in Ginny Lowe Connors, visit her website.

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