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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Ekphrastic Prose Poem: 223 words
By Dotty LeMieux

Holding Pattern


In the field are the cows, standing as they do, waiting to be milked, to be taken in for the evening, for grain to be thrown to them, to be cleaved and eaten.

We don’t see any of this from our airplane.

We fly oblivious, buy things online. If we are coming from abroad, we can pick our purchases right up in the duty-free shop in the back of the airplane. What do we know of Guernsey cows, or Jersey cows, or fat Delft cows? For dinner we have burger; we worry it might be Chinese like the clothes we are wearing, the new blue jeans and the softer than any cotton, any cashmere, sweater. An Impossible sweater, but the burger was brought to us by the cows. And then there are sheep, chickens, and, we think, people, there must be people.

We squirm in our too-tight seats in the plane crossing miles of ocean of prairie of mighty cities that glitter like stardust below.

Beyond our vision now, cows are transformed; become gods, not to be eaten, milked, or bothered on their ambling way. If we could see them, we would be blessed.

Meanwhile, we are stuck in the Samsara plane of never getting it right, caught in an artificial environment, held together by steel and fat molecules of Fate.

Publisher’s Note:

This prose poem was inspired by a photograph by B.A. Van Sise, U.S. Air Force / Restricted, which was featured by Rattle in their July 2019 Ekphrastic Challenge.

The image is from Van Sise’s “Elsewhere” series of photographs of airplanes in the sky (fifth image as you scroll to the right in his gallery).

Dotty LeMieux
Issue 1, January 2020

has writing published or forthcoming in After/Ashes (a Camp fire anthology), Gyroscope, Rise Up Review, Solo Novo, The Marin Poetry Center Anthology, and Writers Resist, among others. The author of three published chapbooks, she studied at the New College of California Poetics Program and with poets Joanne Kyger, Edith Jenkins, and Thomas Centolella. In the 1970s and ’80s, she edited the Turkey Buzzard Review in Bolinas, California. She now runs political campaigns for progressive candidates, mainly women, and lives in Marin County, California with her husband and two dogs.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Three Poems in The Write Launch (Issue 28, August 2019); includes “trou au centre de la terre (Hole in the Center of the Earth)” and “Black Hole”

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