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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Poem: 150 words
By Anita Lerek

Return Blue

—After Le Retour (Return) (1940) by René Magritte

I am pigment sheltered 
in the mind of Noah 
until released, 
carrying the sky in my mouth, 
no olive branch, 
but the wonder of something else, 
stilled life on the edge, 
waiting with the others, 
incubating in cold lit blue 
to die or hatch 
by the hand of magic—
to conjure up what is absent, 
the flesh of lack. 
I stroke egg into dove, 
shriek of color, 
seeking mother 
washed up 
on the Sambre River shore, 


Monstrosity of the search, 
the half truths. 
I deform faces, arms, wings, 
proportions, night, day—
to imagine what is 
under the surface, 
in the ruins of the ordinary—
a cracking open 
inside dead evening sky. 
Nothing there 
but broken bits of light, 
furious splashes of mind 
ringing out in fluffy whites, fat blues, 
I am here, I am here. 



Publisher’s Note:

Le Retour (Return) (oil on canvas, 1940) by René Magritte (1898–1967) is held by Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. An image may be viewed within this article in Art History News (5 February 2015): Magritte at Auction (scroll down to third painting).

Anita Lerek
Issue 12, March 2022

has spent her adult life juggling business and the enchantment of her most faithful lover, her poetic muse. The visual arts, jazz, and social justice are life-long influences. Born abroad (Poland), she retains a sense of otherness.

A publishing late-bloomer, she is the author of a chapbook, History and Being (2019). Her poetry has recently appeared in River Heron, Silver Birch Press, Offcourse, Verse-Virtual, Poetry Super Highway (Poet of the Week), Medium: Cry/Scream, Visual Verse, and First Literary Review-East.

Ms. Lerek is co-founder of ChangeArtists, a start-up online hub for quality poetry related to political engagement and social action. She is a member of the Verse-Virtual literary community, and lives with her archivist husband in Toronto, Canada.

You can find her at Facebook and Instagram.

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