Ekphrasis #1

kids, ca. 1981
photo taken by MaryBeth Jamail, probably in 1981

I originally wrote this poem as a sonnet when I was in college, meditating on the theme of love presumed to be inherent in the sonnet form. I thought, love takes many forms, and so. This updated version of the poem appears in my book The Sharp Edges of Water, published by Odeon Press in 2018.


Lullaby for a Crying Child

When my cousin died, olive skin and thick
.     black hair and twelve years old laid under
        dirt and roses, I found out death’s simple

trick: it’s no one-way gate, but a long silk
   skirt in the rain. I peel the silk from my
        skin, hang it dripping in the bathroom.

My cousin defies death’s veil, ages beyond his
   allotted years, finds me in a dream, touches
        my hands. I look at him, through him, and

wake to rain. Left but not alone. My skirt
.     dripping on the tile.

You can order a copy of The Sharp Edges of Water here or at just about any bookstore or online bookseller.

10 thoughts on “Ekphrasis #1

    1. Thanks. 🙂 I was utterly floundering. The one thing I was even close to being certain of was poetry. Well, that and my friend Patricia, who knew me better than anyone else and could explain me to people better than I possibly could.

      I wrote poetry and only that for several years, beginning halfway through university. Then when I returned to fiction, I was a completely different writer. My brain had evolved. I still write poetry now and then — am working on a poem this week, in fact — and dabble in creative non-fiction, too, but primarily I’m a novelist.

      So yeah, I turned out more or less okay. 🙂


      1. Well you are one of the lucky ones I guess, who was talented and hard-working enough to make a success out of a passion. I’d love to read more of your work and to know you better, thanks for sharing!


      2. Thanks again. I think I was fortunate in that I landed at University of Houston for a degree in CW. I knew I wanted that, and it was about the only thing I could articulate about what I wanted from my life.

        There’s a poetry page here on this blog where you can read more of it, and then of course the archives are full of eclectic stuff! The Popular Posts page is going to be an index to the more “literary” things which are not poetry. Hopefully I’ll have more of that sort of content coming up here soon.

        Welcome, welcome. 🙂


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