“The Surface of Light” by Martin Willitts Jr.

Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2016: Artist’s Choice


Image by Arushi Raj
Image: “Light” by Arushi Raj. “The Surface of Light” was written by Martin Willitts Jr. for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2016, and selected by Raj as the Artist’s Choice winner.

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Martin Willitts Jr.


Light rises out of my wrist like a raptor above the surface
searching to peel away the skin’s orange surface.

Light is haunting the intersections for places to feast,
light and metallic, edged sharp, used by cutting the surface.

It is soundless as a thought of danger that surprises,
the belief we can be responsible for it is only the surface.

Light becomes a better rapture that comes from a death-strike
delivered objectively by a drone, denting the surface.

Light is pain and separation. It knows distance does not matter.
Before we die, we will be taught to love its surface.

Light began as a gnat; in an hour it became a vulture, in two,
it became a dragon. At this rate, it leaves the air’s surface.

All this began when I woke up and opened the blinds,
and one microbe of light found me bringing its cold surface.

Surface of my loss, why do you take off? Why slice sadness?
It is raining metal fragments as it departs with a Ghazal surface.

Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2016
Artist’s Choice Winner

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Comment from the artist, Arushi Raj, on this selection: “Intriguingly, though it wasn’t mention that in the picture it was a woman’s hand, most of the poets seem to be drawn to feminine subjects. Of all the submissions I believe ‘The Surface of Light’ truly transmogrifies the picture. I absolutely loved the juxtaposition of an objective clinical tone with a breathless subjective urgency. But most importantly it had an undercurrent of music that somehow manifested the intermingling of the shadows and lights which prompted me to title my photograph ‘Lights’ in the first place.” (link)

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