Georgia O’Keeffe, Sunset, Long Island.
You don’t know how it survived the journey,
but you slice it into cornflakes, knowing
you’ll taste summer bounding into fall.
The yellow polar bear against the arctic white
is like the light that accents your dark hair,
now streaked with gray. I remember
being dazzled by the colors dancing all
around your head. I have looked into
lacunas of your eyes, seeking power
that you know is emptiness I fill,
standing under stars, my memory.
Nothing will reflect until I sit down
at the table, see light from the door
tag both your eyes, wet with glory.
In the privacy of thought, what colors
come, sweeping slowly? Does the edge
of darkness seep with rainbows rimmed
for birth? Joan Baez sings, recorded
thirty years ago. I listen, rapt, while she
climbs heaven with her voice,
a rasping turbulence that arches home.
She practiced, so her guitar keeps time
like a river, always catching up,
surpassing expectations. I lay me down
in the curve of cardinal feather, slivered gray.
I succumb to sorrow, though it feels like joy.
Rae Cobbs is a Californian made into a Kentucky keeper. She has been writing and teaching since she came to Louisville, Kentucky, over half her life ago. Through poetry, she keeps in touch with the physical world, the desert, which she misses, and her own life. Her poems carry the weight of the personal, social, and political changes that are being wrought. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her partner and a house full of four-leggeds. She has twice been a recipient of a grant from The Foundation for Women.