Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2017: Artist’s Choice
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.
[download: PDF / JPG]
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.
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
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.”