Archive for June 18th, 2022

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Georgia by Judy Loest

Even without all those strong women
In the house, a mother and two grandmothers
Who had traveled to Wisconsin in oxcarts,
You would never have stayed
On that dairy farm, sweeping pinecones
Off of the front porch, painting still lifes
Of turnips and aged cheddar. As a young girl,
You stood at the window and saw a great desert
Beyond the corn fields, flowers in the night sky
Instead of stars, the velvet fire of poppies
In the goldfish’s scales. The fixed notions
Of astronomy and arithmetic, the history
Of England and the New World, even
The economics of the Bell Telephone Company
Flew out of your head like prairie sand.

I saw you once in Central Park, or a young woman
Who could have been you back in 1908,
Before Stieglitz, before Ghost Ranch—
Though this was in 1985. Who knows?
You were wearing black, your thin body
Bent in the shape of a microscope,
Reproducing in pastels the back of your hand
Which emerged on the page as a bone-white
Trumpet flower, yellow flames curling
From its center. Sure, it wasn’t you,
But looking at that trumpet flower later
In the museum, I knew why you never wore colors,
Why someone with such a fire inside her
Might keep turning up someplace else.


Date: 2001

By: Judy Loest (1947- )