“Sometimes a Man Has to Get His Hands Dirty” by Alexandre Mikano

Ekphrastic Challenge, February 2019: Editor’s Choice


Work Gloves by Justin Hamm

Image: “Work Gloves” by Justin Hamm. “Sometimes a Man Has to Get His Hands Dirty” was written by Alexandre Mikano for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, February 2019, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]


Alexandre Mikano


My father never liked
To call someone for help.
When he painted the house
It smelled like gunpowder
And dried spaghetti.
He covered up the walls
With a yellow paint and worked on his castle.
Sometimes a man has to get his hands dirty,
He liked to say.
My mother watched him bleed
Trying to fix the simplest things.
He never read the instructions.
One day they might teach you
How to shit.
There are things
A man should do alone.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
February 2019, Editor’s Choice


Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “Often I end up choosing a poem that takes the month’s image in some new and surprising direction, but this month the opposite is true. Alexandre Mikano went exactly where my mind goes when looking at this photograph, and were hundreds of other poets’ minds went, too—a kind of gritty love poem for a father figure—but he did it with such fine grace and detailed precision that it stood out among all the other poems nonetheless. This strikes me as a perfect embodiment of the image and the feelings it evokes.”

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