“Surf Days” by Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2017: Editor’s Choice


Wind-Blown Meadow by Phyllis Meredith

Image: “Wind-Blown Meadow” by Phyllis Meredith. “Surf Days” was written by Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2017, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]


Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco


Surf days
when you said
nobody goes
on new adventures
anymore and
so we drove
out to the coast
and watched the tiny
waves do
to the shoreline, sat
on rocks
and drank the beer
that I had stolen
from my roommate, left
green bottles
blinking sun back
from the sand.

In the photo
that I pinned up to old walls for years
and then stuck
in the center of a book, I see

your hair a question mark, your

the darkness curled up inside of a shell
the world around you

with lines and gray, but most of all just

so very young—my best
best friend

the smartest
kid I ever knew, some
kind of god

who lifted sand
and sent stars flying

How did we love and hurt and care
and turn to nothing

after that?

from Ekphrastic Challenge
November 2017, Editor’s Choice

[download audio]


Comment from the editor on this selection: “Quite simply, this poem felt the most emotionally honest of all those we received this month. I can see the scene at the beach and this photograph tucked into the speaker’s notebook, even though I know it really isn’t there. An entire world is constructed from the image, and because it feels so real, the longing feels real, too.”

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