“Trajectory” by Ann Giard-Chase

Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2017: Artist’s Choice


Street Folks by Jennifer O'Neill Pickering

Image: “Street Folks” by Jennifer O’Neill Pickering. “Trajectory” was written by Ann Giard-Chase for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2017, and selected as the Artist’s Choice.

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Ann Giard-Chase


We were young once and beautiful,
wandering loose as stones—Jed loping

along beside me, the beret he loved
like a lopsided lily pad plopped

on his head. We’re lost, I’d say as we
drifted from city to city. We’re free,

he’d mumble, cigarette dangling
like a toothpick between his lips. Nights

with him, I’d lie on city pavements,
neon sizzling in the darkness. I’d tell him

I could have been a tree or a planet fixed
to a fiery star. I’d tell him dragonflies

are in season and Monarchs migrate
along ghostly trails returning year after year

to the same forest. You think too much,
he’d mutter. But one day I knew

what I had to do and I loosened the sails
and he drifted away and that night I grew

thick roots sinking them deep into bedrock
while far above me the constellations

lit their luminous lamps and burned away
the darkness and I thought—life is full

of many hungers knowing they too are tied
by invisible strings swirling them into orbits,

looping them into galaxies, calling them
home from the vast and racing universe.

from Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2017
Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Jennifer O’Neill Pickering, on this selection: “Many of the poems reflected the visual narrative of my pastel, but what I particularly liked about ‘Trajectory’ was the positive outcome for one of the characters. This left me feeling hopeful. I think we can use a bit of hope now.”

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