Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2020: Artist’s Choice
Back home, behind some books: a portrait frame,
her painted face. None left to share a clue
to family history, her maiden name
is lost to me. She looks at me askew
as if to dare, “Know me.” Somehow I do
when I say her name. Wil, from William, but
feminine, whispering desire. Helm, too,
offers hints: protection, as in helmet.
Once, forehead lined as ancient text, she gave
me a ruby ring—too big for my hand.
In church, I’d watch the facets spark, feel brave,
gold band a shield. Perhaps that’s what she planned.
She is Madonna with her telling stare.
I say her single name for strength, a prayer.
—from Ekphrastic Challenge
December 2020, Artist’s Choice
Comment from the artist, Dominique Dève: “The poem corresponds well to my state of mind when I painted this portrait.”