“White Spots” by Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2021: Editor’s Choice


While Thinking About Snow and Ice by Jojo, image of intersection lines on a chalkboard

Image: “While Thinking About Snow and Ice” by Jojo. “White Spots” was written by Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, April 2021, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]


Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco


Sometimes you look for something else.
A corner where there might be rust.

An eyelash width.
A speck of dirt.

How you can use a poem’s words to keep
your distance.

Put a man there, in the picture, just
to see.

(You Google it and see a thousand
small attacks: the man a hacker now, a hood over his face.)

It is too much.

You change tacks and think of sugar,
silver tongs to lift each cube.

Whiter than


The space around

Next you see an envelope, lose
it again.

You wonder if there is a Rorschach test
for love (of course there’s not).

You think of how a friend said once she couldn’t tell
when you’re in love.

The more you look, you see the frayed
spots, little

You stop to breathe.

You think of wings, or long wide

You remember this past winter, flying snow
geese, in a sheet.

How you could see the things you wanted to see

there (if you had looked).
How they slept next to the highway

in small heaps.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
April 2021, Editor’s Choice


Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco has won the Ekphrastic Challenge five times now over the seven years of the series and seems to be a master of the short line. She wields them like a scalpel, carving deeper into the image with each quick stroke, exposing unseen details and revealing the mysteries that lie beneath.”

Rattle Logo