Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2020: Artist’s Choice
Image: “Old” (acrylic on paper, 24x32cm, 2018) by Dominique Dève. “Wilhelmina” was written by Kyle Potvin for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2020, and selected as the 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.”