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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Poem: 165 words
By Robbi Nester


—After an untitled photograph by Omid Armin *
When trees grew scarce, we turned 
our faces to the sky, filled with 
clouds piled high and dark as boulders, 
rose-pink postage stamps, netting 
on a blue chapeau. Out of necessity, 
we learned that pressed and supercooled, 
they turned transparent, glittering 
like the silver scales on schooling capelin, 
and could be fashioned into sturdy floors 
or walls or even roofs. They shimmered 
like the ice on frozen lakes, powering 
our world with elemental force. But this 
abundance had a cost: by borrowing 
these pieces of the sky, we carved 
a portal to another universe, hidden 
within the one we know, as in a puzzle box, 
a world where everything’s reversed, 
a mirror-world. Here, our doubles 
stalk us upside down and backwards, 
like water gliders and their reflections 
on the surface of a pond. Sometimes, 
on hands and knees, we grimace at each other, 
try to speak. Neither understands, yet 
we embrace the comforts of proximity. 



Publisher’s Note:

The photograph by Omid Armin features the reflection of a woman, and appears in Visual Verse (Volume 7, Chapter 4).

Robbi Nester
Issue 12, March 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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