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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 7: March 2021
Poem: 149 words
+ Visual Art: Drawing
+ Poet’s Commentary: 51 words
By Christine Stewart-Nuñez

Site Planning


As I cross this network of interstates 
driving toward home, I’m dried out 
of words until I hear neural network 
on the radio, and I picture a lake 
with streams that branch and taper. 
Net. Work. My mother-made nets 
for my oldest son: family, stories, 
photos, arms reaching, reaching. 
Across chasms, I’ve woven lifelines 
to schools, doctors, and specialists 
so he won’t fall through. And as I drive 
past fields so flooded I can’t see 
where they thin or end, I recall 
the pervasiveness of his seizures—
one per minute when he slept. 
They’re receding now, but what 
will they leave when they’ve dried up? 
Some say new knowledge and new 
memories; I imagine sunflower fields. 
What work will my nets do then? 
Perhaps he’ll make his own trawls 
weave into mine. Either way, each day 
brings a facet of him to the surface, 
polished and gleaming. 


Dendron: drawing by Pauline Aitken
Dendron (drawing, pencil and coloured pencils)

Copyrighted © by Pauline Aitken. All rights reserved.
Reproduced here with artist’s permission.

Poet’s Commentary [re her three poems in this issue]

These ekphrastic pieces are truly collaborative in nature, representing conversations and studies of each other’s work that are reciprocal and multidimensional. The pairings are a “slice through” of a more holistic artistic dynamic as opposed to the typical one-way response (writer responds to art) that ekphrastic endeavors usually produce.

Christine Stewart-Nuñez
Issue 7, March 2021

is South Dakota’s poet laureate, and the author of several books of poetry, including Untrussed (University of New Mexico Press, 2016) and Bluewords Greening (Terrapin Books, 2016), winner of the 2018 Whirling Prize. This professor of English at South Dakota State University edited the poetry anthology South Dakota in Poems (South Dakota State Poetry Society, October 2020), and looks forward to the forthcoming release of her book The Poet & The Architect by Terrapin Books in 2021.

Find her work at: www.christinestewartnunez.com

Pauline Aitken
Issue 7, March 2021

is a British artist who studied painting and printmaking at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Her projects have included working with microscopy and digital imaging and have focused on medicinal plants and the human heart and brain. At the Department of Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, she worked on Cardio-Active, a “sci-art” project funded by the Wellcome Trust, which explores the form and function of the human heart, in context also with the foxglove plant, used since the 18th century for the treatment of some heart conditions. Since 2017, her latest work has included an ekphrastic collaboration with poet Christine Stewart-Nuñez.

For more details and a list of the artist’s exhibitions, see her Profile:

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