Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2015: Editor’s Choice
Photograph by Colleen McLaughlin. “Contrails” was written by D.R. James for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2015, and selected by Timothy Green as the Editor’s Choice winner.
One answer lies in the tropospheric molecules scattering
short blue waves and vapor meeting minus-sixty. But
what’s the burning question? What orders the eye, the
brain, to catch all the colors after rain? What comprehends
a handful of sand, November’s endless branches of birds?
I’m bowed down by the simply phenomenal, the asymmetric
stain of mulberry crushed on concrete, what was sown that
now reveals its long green line. Yesterday, mountainous
clouds turned our Midwest horizon into I-76’s Wiggins’s
vision of the Colorado Rockies, and any headfirst plunge
off my cautious stage in this life supplies the slickest look
at all I never see. Forget insipid interpretations, how the jet
streaking seven miles above your sweetheart blazes the trail
connecting her to you. In a blink, or maybe in a day, those
contrails, heavy as the thin air they cleave, will leave you,
expanding, disbandingly unparalleled into a marbled blue.
—Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2015
Editor’s Choice Winner
Comment from the editor: “From a simple photograph, D.R. James takes us from the troposphere to a small town in Colorado to long distance love. It’s an elegantly turned and worthy journey.”
For more information on books by D.R. James, visit his author page.