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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Poem: 206 words
“Triple-Q” Challenge
By Robbi Nester


After a photograph by Ann Leshy Wood
Today we convene to examine a suspicious incident. 
Aside from the alleged cloud, nothing odd seems to have 
happened at the beach. The place was empty: no revelers 
roasting corn and quahogs, no heckling gulls and sandpipers 
stalking the thin line between sea and land. As always, 
the querulous sea muttered under its breath, scrawling 
its complaints on the wet sand and rubbing them out again 
with a closed fist. Only a single cloud floated like a decoy 
in the sky. Unlike other clouds that shift and toss, spreading 
themselves like butter on blue bread or querling into the 
likeness of distant hills, this one hung for hours, never 
altering its shape or size. A most unnatural cloud, crafted 
by the hands of humans or else originating on another world. 
The witness states she watched it till the early afternoon, when 
it erupted like a shattered pane into a multitude of shards 
taking flight as moths might, or a colony of bats disturbed 
by light. Was it a test of alien technology gone awry? 
Without a sample, it’s impossible to say, but we’ll watch the skies 
and comb the waters. It could not have been an ordinary cloud. 



—One of 12 Finalists in MacQ’s “Triple-Q” Writing Challenge


Cloud Confetti: Photograph by Ann Leshy Wood
Cloud Confetti (Photograph)

Copyrighted © by Ann Leshy Wood. All rights reserved.
Photograph appears here with her permission.

Ann Leshy Wood
Issue 11, January 2022

is a Lebanese-American poet, art-photographer, and vocalist who lives in a house she built in the deep woods of north Florida. She studied Literature and Creative Writing at the University Of Florida. Her poetry and photographs have been published in many journals and literary magazines, including The Yalobusha Review and The Florida Review as well as the premier issue of Ancient City Anthology, a book of writings about Florida. She reads at literary conferences and discusses how landscape and place affects her work. Her poem “The Last Resort” received the Colby Kulman award at Oxford’s Southern Writing, Southern Writers Conference, in Oxford, Mississippi.

Robbi Nester
Issue 11, January 2022

is the author of four books of poetry, including an ekphrastic chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), and three collections: Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019), Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017), and A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014). She has edited three anthologies; the latest is The Plague Papers, available online at Poemeleon Journal. Her poems, reviews, essays, and articles have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, including Aeolian Harp VI, Book of Matches, Cultural Daily, Gargoyle, Live Encounters, Muddy River Review, North of Oxford, Rhino, Tampa Review, Tiferet, Verdad, and Verse-Virtual.

Author’s website: www.robbinester.net

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

After Blossom, ekphrastic poem after an etching by Phil Greenwood in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 3, May 2020)

Three Poems by Robbi Nester in Verse-Virtual (January 2020)

Law of Attraction, ekphrastic poem after Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone, in Verse-Virtual (May 2019)

Night Tunnel, ekphrastic poem after a painting by Robert Rhodes, Philadelphia Night Train, in The Ekphrastic Review (21 April 2016)

The Locusts, ekphrastic poem after a collage of the same name by Mary Boxley Bullington, in The Ekphrastic Review (13 October 2015)

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