In the last, lost painting of Rembrandt’s
Common Senses, one that I imagine, three figures
fill the frame, another medical scenario.
In the center, someone spoons thick liquid
into an old man’s mouth. The patient grimaces,
bemused that anything reputed to be healing
should inspire such disgust, while what he craves
(hot rum, fatty joints of beef) will likely kill him.
Beside him at the table, a small child gnaws
a heel of bread, layered with sweet butter.
He likes its heft, the crackle of the crust
under his teeth. I share his pleasure, savoring
the thought that an artifact of the imagination
could reach us through the senses, make us dream.
—From the poet’s book manuscript Picture This, which is available
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 also edited three anthologies: The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014); Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees, which was published as a special issue of Poemeleon Journal; and The Plague Papers, recently published 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. She is an elected member of the Academy of American Poets.
Author’s website: www.robbinester.net
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
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)