shades of gray

Georgia O'Keeffe

Here’s a poem I wrote after seeing this postcard of Georgia O’Keeffe:


Georgia O’Keeffe Looks Over Her Shoulder

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.


Just when she thinks she’s painted all her fear,

When bleached skulls turn to poppies red as lust,

The sound of something wild attracts her ear.


Black jacket, white soft collar curving near

the place where desert sunset turns to rust

awakens in that neck a prickling fear.


The haunches of dead lovers gleam as clear

in skulls as in the orchid’s velvet crust.

Dry rattling of bone curls back her ear.


Her upswept silken hair declares the year

in shades of gray and tortoise brown as dust

just when she thought she’d painted all her fear.


Her thin pink pearl of seashell curves to hear

the desert’s voice, more fierce, more dry than just

as three fine wrinkles flow down from her ear.


Such gaunt grace turns her, luscious and severe,

containing bones and orchids, fruit and crust!

Just when she thinks she’s painted all her fear,

the sound of something wild attracts her ear.



Published in Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky     Plain View Press 2007



okeeffe skull

<a href=””>Gray</a&gt;

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

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