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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 5: October 2020
Poem: 132 words
By Robbi Nester

On Adaptation


After the Rain: painting (1879) by Arkhip Kuindzhi


I peer from the portal, afraid to find 
some portion of my past projected 
on the mirror surface of this alien 
world. The field beside the barn 
takes shape as I watch, wrenched 
whole from its foundation in memory, 
dropped like a seed onto what had been 
bare rock between two continents. 
In this incarnation, the rain has just 
ended, will soon begin again. 
Dark clouds brood over the fields, 
flashing, phosphorescent, 
like deep-sea jellyfish. I suppose 
at home we’d call this night, 
and yet it isn’t quite, something other 
than the ordinary. Cows still browse, 
yet the sky, spent by the storm, 
has at last left off illuminating 
the surface of the planet, 
a task taken up by this bright meadow, 
this farm, simulacrum of our green island, Earth.



—After a painting by Arkhip Kuindzhi, After the Rain (1879); and Solaris (1972), a film by Andrei Tarkovsky based on the novel (1961) by Stanislaw Lem



After the Rain (painting, oil on canvas; 1872) by Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi (1842–1910) is reproduced above from Wikimedia Commons (link retrieved in September 2020).

For more information, as well as additional paintings by Kuindzhi, see also:

Robbi Nester
Issue 5, October 2020

shelters in place in Southern California, where she’s been putting the finishing touches on four new manuscripts, which are currently looking for a home. She is the author of four books of poems, 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). Her poetry, reviews, articles, and essays have been published widely.

She has also edited a print anthology, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! Poetic Responses to NPR & PBS Stories (Nine Toes Press, 2014); an e-anthology of ekphrastic poetry, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees (Celebrating the Photographs of Beth Moon), which was published online in 2016 as a special edition of Poemeleon Journal; and a new ekphrastic anthology which has yet to be published.

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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