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