When you soiled your dress

Another day, another class assignment. This was an exercise in ekphrasis, also known as a vivid description of a scene, or more commonly, a work of art. We had about 30 minutes to stare at a photograph we’d never seen before, allow it to move us, and produce a poem or some other poem-like construction from it. The photo I chose was a woman in a white dress running through a field of grass away from the camera. I could have easily looked at it as a carefree, hopeful image, which is exactly why I went with option B: the most depressing interpretation I could come up with. You may have noticed that I often go with option B…Enjoy.

*******

I watched as the juice dripped down your chin, lingering at the point for a brief moment before dropping onto your mother’s white chiffon hand-me-down. This feels like tomorrow, like the expectant ache in your back you always complained about after you had danced too hard or stretched too far forward to see what horizons were unfurling themselves before your forever. Tomorrow, like our favorite patch of grass still cool and itchy with anticipation before we destroyed it, sitting too long and bathing in woe-is-me, stubborn inertia sitting solidly in the path of progress. You shall not go. You know what you did. You drowned tomorrow in self-indulgent tears. What-was-to-be choked and died, dirty saltwater spilling out of its every orifice. Today, you should be ashamed of the luxury you abused, flying off on the back of oblivion instead of facing your crimes. Look what you’ve done to you. To her. To us. And look, you even ruined your dress.

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