Rustic Impression

By SUSAN COMNINOS

chickens

This poem is an ekphrastic response to the above painting, Chickens!, by Marion Clarke.

Near the Mountains of Mourne, County Down, Northern Ireland

***

RUSTIC IMPRESSION
of a blind house, a barn, and forked path

At first, the flowers open
to a scene that makes us stay
fixed on its slate roofs, the drop

from their eaves to the two
skewed red doors, one hung
on a bespectacled barn. Its

windows stare right
at a whitened house: the lone
blemish, a blood slab of wood.

No barrow depends on this
trio of hens — or are they
cocks? — strutting, wattles

rouged as poppies
blurred to a haze near
a cadre of rocks. Like

blunt cadets, they point
to a crotch in the yard. It spreads
its branched bones in the dirt

then cracks out a path
between hay and home, table
and trough. Unlovely

letter, it wants us to name
what we are: cad or cluck. At our best
loved, we scratch down

a dirt road to sleep, beasts
bound for their separate
beds. Plucked from paint to be

a bird or a man, we perch on
respective clawed feet: all to march
for one hanged pair of doors.

 

 

Susan Comninos is both an arts & culture journalist and a poet. Her journalism appears in The Atlantic Online, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, and Jewish Daily Forward, among others. Her poetry most recently appeared in the Harvard Review Online, Rattle, Subtropics, Southern Humanities Review and The Common. She teaches literary analysis and writing at The University at Albany (SUNY), and is seeking a publisher for her debut poetry manuscript, Out of Nowhere.

 

Painting reproduced courtesy of Marion Clarke.

Debbie WenRustic Impression

Related Posts

image of field with poppies

Essential Summer Reads 2019

With July well underway, we've put together a list of transportive pieces that encapsulate the spirit of summer—the dust above the country roads, the coolness of the waterfronts, the anticipation of autumn, and of course, the sticky, melting sweetness of ice cream. Take a trip through space and time with these summery selections. 

Venice Italy

Rubrica

RITA CIRESI
I bought it thirty years ago on my first visit to Italy, in a cramped bookbinding shop tucked on a dark, narrow alley behind Piazza San Marco. I paid for it in lire—heavy coins that bore the images of grapevines and olive branches, and oversized pastel bills printed with portraits of Guglielmo Marconi and Maria Montessori.

Image of girl standing next to car

Offerings

JANE WONG
Over and over, I dig thin flower stems into the earth, as if mending a hole in an old shirt. The earth buckles at my persistence. I imagine the worms, deep in the ground, ducking each stem in slow, pink frenzy. The flowers are from Safeway along Route—dip-dyed daisy petals in blue and pink food coloring.