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MacKinnon & Engle-Pratt – Baltimore Ekphrasis Project

Kate MacKinnon and Aurora Engle-Pratt traded art and words. Kate shared this image, entitled “no more blue skies 3,” with Aurora:

nomoreblueskies3_KateMIn response, Aurora wrote this poem:

Salt White

When out of everything that was, you were
not: like a hole in the sky, like a mirror
in the back of a pickup truck. Your blank
space like a bone-china cup waiting to be filled,
the pale of you like the belly of a dove.
               For a minute, the clouds opened up
over Versailles. The wind pushed tight ripples
across the reflecting pool. In the water, the air
was cornflower blue.
Your blue truer than a sliver of sky.
Your calm a salt flat in the center of a palace.

* * * * *

Aurora shared this poem with Kate:

Homeward

In the field a little ways out stands a white house.
We used to live there. In the house
a black bannister curls like a new fern.
The wood stove waits
like a thirsty cat. The field is brown with heat.
In the spring there were daffodils along the drive,
and we hid in the wet ditch, slick as toads, giggling.

I walked home in the rain last week.
There were sheets of water on my face,
and every passing headlight flashed
a flickering solo on the storm’s blank stage.
In the house I live in now
I erase the traces of my own wet feet.

In the home I had, we piled boots in the front hall,
swam in the water when we shouldn’t have.
In the summertime we spoke ourselves into warriors and orphans,
stained our faces in pokeberry juice,
High Priestesses of a damp and recalcitrant earth.

The house is still in the field. In the spring there are azaleas
on the front walk. In the winter the stove glows like a full moon.
I remember the watery glass, the scent of the gravel after a storm.
I still know the dark wood of the front stair,
the weight of the kitchen’s screen door.

My wet feet will never leave more than traces.

In the house I live in now, the trains wail past my thinner walls.
The basement stairs are damp. The floorboards push apart,
like strangers on a public bus.
In my room I am flesh-wet and rain drenched.

In the field a little ways out a white house stands.

In response, Kate made this painting, entitled “I Have Not Forgotten”:

ihavenotforgotten_katemackinnon

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