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Karen George

Karen George: I’m author of five chapbooks, and two poetry collections from Dos Madres Press: Swim Your Way Back (2014) and A Map and One Year (2018). My work has appeared or is forthcoming in Adirondack Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Poet Lore, Salamander, and I-70 Review. I review poetry at Poetry Matters: Visit my website at:

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Special # 12, 1917

Spiral iterations
interlocked waves
one behind the other
stand upright like a cobra
ready to strike

A fern uncurling open
from its braided base

A doorknob turning
in a man’s hand

A lock of wet hair
around an earlobe

The handle of an antique cane
the black-lacquered wooden one
my husband owned
that I don’t remember him using
thin, like it wouldn’t hold you

The cane I needed
after a knee replacement
still in my trunk a year later

The entwined selves:
childhood, furthest away
only an edge visible
pale, not yet formed
The middle murky, almost blank
center, still becoming
Closest, dark and thin
nearly replete, loops back
plush with inky beauty

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pelvis III, 1944

The bleached pelvis devours the frame. Raised to sky, a telescope, the blue blooms
through the bone hole, breach calves birth through. Imagine how its hooves pounded
earth, in glee, terror.

Or a soft-shelled robin’s egg, just laid, hoarded in a hollow of white sand?

Oval balm
Form within form
A nesting.

Ten years old, near an abandoned stone barn, the skeletal head of a fox. Sharp teeth intact
in pointed snout. I place fingers in a nasal cavity, an eye socket, where ears once sensed
mice stir in a burrow, rabbits rustle grass. Feel inside its jaw for the missing, sinewy

An ache thrums my throat
Grief for all the absent ones
Hum of connection.
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