Experience the Wealth of Fabulous Writing 


Not So Still 

Ekphrastic poem by Janell Ward 

She is holding her cigarette, but it bends between

her tightly squeezed fingers.

She looks angry, like some man just let her

down, like someone 

put out a cigarette on the lining of her stomach, or

perhaps someone in the market 

brought up a sensitive topic, one she tried to 

forget, one she now is reliving. 

How long has she been staring into nothing? When was her last inhale? 

She leans back in the black metal chair as if all is well, 

but her right hand is holding her left elbow

as if she is cold. But I think another chill

is bothering her. 

I do not know what is turning behind her eyes—maybe it's simply her sister

who never writes, or her mother’s dying wish

that her sister would write.

Her high white collar looks uncomfortable, a little too tight, a little too stuffy. Can she even feel it?

Her orange hair, pushed up in a tilted bun, doesn't look 

well worked. But she doesn't seem to care. 

She is high class, obviously. That green, teal wall --

the popular style, she spent the money for it.

But she didn't spend money on some blush, 

or a new necklace, it seems. 

Her skin is yellow, as if the air in her home welcomes

no sunlight to bronze her cheeks. 

Soft pink wrinkles curl under her black beaded eyes. Her round chin and small cheekbones, are stone. 

And yet she is just paint now, splattered on a canvas. 

But her heavy glace stains my mind --



Woman with a Cigarette, 1903 by Pablo Picasso