Ekphrasis of Lost Art

Maria S. Picone

“Ichthyology” by Flora Horton

Here is a painting of a fish that I wrote for you: Prussian blue, glittering white. Bones & sea.

I painted to understand the night sky impulses of your heart, how you oscillate with the tides, with your moods, with the need to die, with my voice. Why you swim towards me & away from seafloor.

You painted, on a parchment-colored background, a Minoan scroll figuration. Black ink flora & fauna. You didn’t know how to actualize the blank space; years later, I filled it with this poem.

I wrote you this fish because I know you love the ocean.


Maria S. Picone — 수영 — is a Korean American adoptee who won Cream City Review’s 2020 Summer Poetry Prize. She has been published in Ice Floe Press, Bending Genres, Whale Road Review, and more, including Best Small Fictions 2021. She has received grants from VONA, Kenyon Review, Lighthouse Writers, GrubStreet, The Watering Hole, SAFTA, The Speakeasy Project, and others. She is the prose editor at Chestnut Review. Her website is mariaspicone.com, Twitter @mspicone.

Flora Horton is a digital collagist and penitent California expat who can’t seem to settle the hell down. Currently, she haunts Missoula.

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