Comment from the photographer, Gail Goepfert, on her selection: “The directions taken by each of the poems Tim sent amazed me. What can be done with blue sky and sulfur cosmos! They elicited a botanist reminiscing about a prom date, to Paolo & Francesca to building a cosmos of remainders, to a souvenir from South America and the memory it evoked of once lying on the ground to look up at these flowers as I did to take the photo. All caught me by surprise and wowed me. In the end, I kept returning to read Liz Clift’s poem, my choice for this challenge; it’s arresting. The tension between the rich garden details including the ‘fat bodies of bumblebees wedging into snapdragons’ and the narrator on her knees (‘how I could erase my body by focusing on theirs’) pulled me in. There was so much rawness, nakedness—raw imagery, raw emotion, rawness in wanting. The poet’s voice—exposed and honest. To imagine that orange flowers against her ‘cerulean sky’ prompted this poem!” (website)
Note: This poem has been published exclusively online as part of our quarterly Ekphrasis Challenge, in which we ask poets to respond to an image provided by our current issue’s cover artist. This spring, the image was a photograph by Gail Goepfert. We received 295 entries, and the artist and Rattle‘s editor each chose their favorite. Timothy Green’s choice will be posted next Saturday. For more information on the Ekphrasis Challenge visit its page. See other poets’ responses or post your own by joining our Facebook group.