“The Woman and the Wolf” by Melissa Fite Johnson

Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2017: Artist’s Choice


And the Wolf by Laura Jensen

Image: “And the Wolf” by Laura Jensen. “The Woman and the Wolf” was written by Melissa Fite Johnson for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2017, and selected as the Artist’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]


Melissa Fite Johnson


He strangled me in his doorway.
Later he called the word “strangle”
dramatic. You could breathe fine.

Hand over my mouth, he shushed
into my ear. Later he said,
You can’t rape your girlfriend.
The next morning I cried at Easter service,
quietly so my mother couldn’t hear.
Another bowed chin in a pew.

I thought the wolf was a wounded bird
dreaming of flight. From a distance,
they’re not so different, his head
a wing puncturing the sky.

At night I lay awake while he slept.
I was nothing but pink flesh.

Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2017
Artist’s Choice

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Comment from the artist, Laura Jensen, on this selection: “It probably isn’t the most ‘technical’ of the lot, but I truly felt the writer had taken the image, touched upon it, and then moved beyond that initial perception to reflect her own personalized redefinition within this poem. I find the result to be elegant, starkly laden, and meaning-rich.”

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