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, pencil and coloured pencils)
Copyrighted © by Pauline Aitken. All rights reserved.
Reproduced here with artist’s permission.
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.
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
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: