“Resolution of Memory” by Sara Dallmayr

Unsatisfied Externals by J. Stormer, etching of a room in still life in green and yellow, with a square section in black and white suggesting a different time

Image: “Unsatisfied Externals” by J. Stormer. “Resolution of Memory” was written by Sara Dallmayr for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2022, and selected as the Editor’s Choice. (PDF / JPG)


Sara Dallmayr


Once upon a heart lived a heart
within a muted room
of yellows and greens.
Once upon a love
stopped matter, matter
stops, heartbeat warm
against the wall.
Once upon a said I timed
how often we spoke,
then how often we didn’t.
Grey is the presence
of re-collection, of night,
mise en abyme
slide like feet down a sand dune.
How you stood before the window
and waxed your decency,
watered the last plant alive,
waited for tea to steep.
How neatly remembering fits
before it spills sideways
into the squares of time.
Once upon a door
I waited for you
to open, then close.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
December 2022, Editor’s Choice


Comment from the editor, Megan O’Reilly: “There is a great deal of ambiguity and mystery in J. Stormer’s etching; I felt it needed a poem that was not too narrative or structured, but more experimental and open to interpretation. Sara Dallmayr’s ‘Resolution of Memory’ fit the bill: I love the way it subverts convention without leaning too far into abstraction, the way it combines concepts like ‘waxed your decency’ with concrete images like ‘watered the last plant alive, waited for tea to steep.’ Like its inspiration, ‘Resolution of Memory’ is just enigmatic enough to be compelling.”

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