three ekphrastic poems
after photographs by Donatella D’Angelo
White. Don’t mistake this for blank.
She hides in it. The black forest
rises from snow, curving down
a hill. Don’t mistake this for shape.
It masks her true form. The hints
erase. Don’t mistake this for absence.
Her image emerges from between—
a suggestion of emptiness and lines—
I can’t see her there. Her shadow
evades understanding. The empty
line holds all of the meaning. Drops
of water splash beyond the frame
of the window. Someone calls her
name. She hides in it. It masks
her true form. White erases a hill.
A ghost angel flutters across
the image—naked truth,
an acceptance of time, place.
Absence gains shape from breath,
a beating heart that sings songs
from overexposed light, transparent
while form begins in color as
a hint of the person emerges,
more solid than any pretense
of carved stone or identity.
The photographer floats
across her page—possibility,
a moment, a promise to herself—
flowing like water, revealed in a brush
of skin tones blushed across canvass.
Her spirit glimmers, a bit of mystery.
I want to write you as feathers,
the way you paint yourself in light—
as though you could reduce self to a
transparent tone of skin caught
in a patch of sun falling across
a sofa while you lay there naked.
I want you to paint me as words
erased from a photograph before
taking the picture, like a breeze
that whispers through the room
and touches your skin when
you start to dance into the image.
What I want doesn’t matter, as you know.
Such wishes merely reflect in water—
imitations of sky, cloud, and tree—
they shimmer and vibrate without
substance or form. They project
a you and me that we cannot touch.