Frost is falling across the forest, and the valley is darkening to teal when you finally kiss me. I could hardly wait to find you that way, to press my blue lips against that place of you. It had been years since I’d been kissed at all and maybe it was the same for you but I wouldn’t know that till later. We were as startled and stunned as the deer that saw us from the break in the woods. I almost took off after her, the wild thing in me. Yes, before we even started, I was thinking of making a run for it. But I didn’t, and you didn’t. The doe stood blinking and silent. We were gone so long that even the stars were cold by the time we turned back in.
The Nowhere Man
He disappears into morning, slipping under the sky with a quicksilver nudge of a pointed boot. Down he dives, into the dark and deep outside of now. He leaves you three silver shells in a pale glass bowl with claws for a pedestal, a scattering of fox nails, and petals from dried flowers. What would you see if you could see me? he asked you, day before yesterday, day before ever. You saw a hole and a mirror, a rip in the world. Nothing, you told him out loud, tipping your littlest finger to your blindfold.
after Snow Storm, by J.M.W. Turner, 1842
“I wished to show what such a scene was like; I got the sailors to lash me to the mast to observe it; I was lashed for four hours, and I did not expect to escape, but I felt bound to record it if I did.” J.M.W. Turner
The ice is the air, a swirl of crushed sapphires and black diamonds, brutal against your face. In modern days, our only shipwreck is Rose’s, epic, romantic, Titanic. But Jack does not wait in the deep here to rescue or woo, leave our unfinished symphony in grandeur and celluloid. Here, it is only God, the elements, wind and hail, swallowing a steamboat whole in the mouth of the harbour. The water is a black hole, a vortex taking you six miles under. Turner’s contemporaries huffed and snorted over his frantic brushwork. They still wanted mechanical historical drafts devoid of marrow. Turner was painting something else, a self-portrait, his own fear. He is what we don’t see in the painting, the artist, tied to the mast, broken to prayer. The tempest heard him, dropped him soaked and freezing, black and blue at the shore, left us with this portal into deep sea drowning.
Lorette C. Luzajic is the founder and editor of The Ekphrastic Review, a literary journal devoted to writing inspired by art. Her creative writing has appeared in hundreds of print and online publications and numerous anthologies. She has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, twice for Best of the Net, and is the first place winner of a story contest at MacQueen’s Quinterly. Her most recent book is Pretty Time Machine: ekphrastic prose poems. Lorette is also an award winning artist whose collage-paintings have been collected in over 25 countries. Visit her at www.mixedupmedia.ca.