Ekphrastic Poetry: Celda #6

By Bailey Pittenger


Celda #6

What are the consequences of silence?

I painted you

on my wall/you

are painted

on the wall

behind streamers;

imprisoned in


You silhouette

edges /I edge/

darker from where


You’re the only dark thing

around the edges, and that day

I tasted lace, I tasted the crispburned

edges of sugar melted and then hardened

over heated butter, I taste a space

between needle and thread. I taste

the paint dried in the horse hair brush.


What do you remember about the earth?

How much is enough? The yard turns to your room / turns into what cast the shadow of bars / turns to a green rope / turns into a cell dancing against the air you turn through.


What is the shape of your body?

An altar autocorrected to alter:

  1. To change or cause to change in composition in a significant way.
  2. To take structural changes to (a building, a room, a cell, a body).
  3. To tailor (clothing, body) for a better fit or to conform body to fashion.
  4. To castrate or spay (a domestic animal).


Describe a morning you woke without fear. 

The there-not-there image. I wait and I imagine spaces

to hide in. I can fit in a cabinet below a sink or in the space

between the wall and the bed. I can sit in a brown box

with another brown box above me. The there-not-there

space. I wait and imagine the false space between

two stacked brown boxes.


Who was responsible for the suffering of your mother? 

My mother is shaped beneath my feet.


How will you begin?

I tell my child to gather dust from the grass floor

into a circle like a moon. I tell my child to eat

her moon dust before it congeals into something

less beautiful.


My child digs her spoon into the moon and complains

that she doesn’t want the moon to get stuck inside her


like a memory stuck in a storage facility, like a moon

memory held in a picture, like dust flecks stuck in a

beam of light, like dust flecks stuck in a beam of shadow,

like dust stuck in your eyes.


I tell my child that all life is stored in moon memory

but death is stored inside us. What we store in our eyes

is death. My child eats moon dust to remember me.


What is the shape of your body?

Piñata: The there-not-there image. That night only comes back to me when I’m awake. I hear nothing. When the doors open, shadows of women rush in. They wear red, indigo, and green. They collapse into arms.


How will you live now? 

I am writing about the substances of depth and female life: eyes, cracked paint, here, and days like this one.



Bailey Pittenger is a first year candidate for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame



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