KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Ekphrastic Poem: 170 words

Art Through the Ages: Botticelli

by Pamela Johnson Parker
Thirty-two roses,
	Pink ones, to our first bed you
		Brought, scattering them

Over the deep teal
	Percale (Ultramarine means
		Beyond the sea, you

Told me)—but never
	Told me why. For 23
		Years I’d ask you:

Teeth in the jawbone?
	The freezing point of water?
		Beethoven’s entire

Sonata series?
	The waist of your Levis when
		We were first wed?

Only your half-smile
	For an answer. Until this
		Morning, sifting through

The thicket of your
	Books, one opens to petals
		Pressed against The Birth

Of Venus—roses
	Drifting across the skyscape,
		Across the seascape,

Across the landscape
	Of her body, persuading
		The eye to focus

On undulation—
	Not the unnatural length
		Of her neck, the steep

Precipice of her
	Ivory shoulders, the hinge
		Of her arm against

The doorway of her
	Body, the precarious
		Balance she couldn’t

Possibly keep on
	The scallop of that clamshell.
		On this rosary

Of petals, serifs
	Of your calligraphy: 2,
		16, 32.....

—Based on The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

Pamela Johnson Parker
Issue 6, Fall 2016

lives and works in western Kentucky, where she teaches creative writing, humanities, and composition. Her poems, essays, and flash fiction are published in various and sundry journals, and her poetry collections are A Walk Through the Memory Palace (Phoenicia Publishing, 2009) and Other Four-Letter Words (Finishing Line Press, 2010). A novel, Horn & Hardart, is buried in her desk drawer.

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