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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 5: October 2020
Poem: 144 words
By Robbi Nester



Ice House at Rose Hill Manor: photograph by Howard R. Debs
Copyright © by Howard R. Debs. All rights reserved.


It’s August, and I hold a glass of lemonade 
so cold that drops of condensation spill 
over my fingers, chill my throat. 
Once ice in summer was a rich man’s fancy. 
Someone with a shovel had to dig a chamber, 
line it with stones all of a certain size and heft. 
It must have taken many hours to find them, 
to place them there, just so, and a pocketbook 
sufficient to the task, all for the simple luxury 
that I enjoy without a thought. 
Someone had to chisel winter into blocks 
and lower them into the hole, climb down 
the spindly homemade ladder in the ground 
to set the ropes around a chunk of ice 
as heavy as a spinet, watch it rise, 
knowing he’d never get to savor even a shard.



—Published previously in Rise Up Review (Winter 2018); appears here with poet’s permission.

—Photograph by Howard R. Debs appears here with his permission, as well as by permission of the Frederick County Division of Parks and Recreation in Frederick, Maryland.

Publisher’s Notes:

1. Howard R. Debs’s photograph of the interior of the Ice House at Rose Hill Manor in Frederick, Maryland was featured in the Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge (August 2015). A larger view of the image above may be viewed at:

2. See Wikipedia for more information about the historic Rose Hill Manor:

3. And this page at Tripadvisor includes additional photographs:

(Links retrieved in October 2020.)

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)

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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