21 | Inklings

One tall candle flame

burns in a sconce.

A black-gowned figure

bisects the scene:

small head — female? —

short hair, downcast eyes.

Candle-light reflects clear,

just on the right cheek.

On the table a wineglass

— or is it a chalice? —

between two dark elbows —

long exaggerated arms.

The right hand shows only

four fingers — no thumb.

The left hand must hide

inside the long left sleeve.

One wonders if the hand

above the glass chalice

pauses in blessing —

or prepares to drop

in another poison pill?

She’s contemplating:

making up her mind,

— waiting for a sign?

Everything is long, lean —

enclosed in angled lines:

praying mantis green,

shades of olive walls.

Shadow-swirls dance —

marling every surface.

There’s one tiny bright

emerald-green triangle

between body-table-arm.

Is that the healing hope?

A similar shade of green

— not quite as brilliant —

covers the lower left corner —

where Mara signed her name.

The lonely circles in this piece

surround the candle flame.

Few other organic forms appear:

in chalice — eyes, lips, and head.

For some, the spleen holds light

— is this what the title reflects?

When demon Mara tempted Buddha

beneath the bodhi tree, he reached


with his right hand — touched dirt —

and said: The earth is my witness.

Yes, earth witnesses us all today

— amidst darkening — and in light.

. . . . .

Susan Powers Bourne

Ekphrastic poem reflecting

‘Spleen’ by Mara Rucki

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