–Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946)
are glass and from one window I see the road
toward Espanola, Santa Fe and the world.
–Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)
you kept on making what I would never see
in that abay, chokecherry place
until I made my first and last
bringing my one good eye,
to do homage to your breathing body
filling the red door
of your white patio,
as when we first met
my camera shimmered
in the aura of your face and hands
and all your skin.
Now I step down
from the sky above the clouds
and walk through the air between
our arms opening
to all we ever were and are–
because of, in spite of–
The adobe wall around the garden broken
by falling trees
guides my ghost through the unpainted door
and across the floor
strewn with bones and rocks and shells and feathers.
I think a house should be just a shelteryou said,
I come from people who worked with their hands.
I found you in An American Place
far from here,
where I lived.
We loved and married
our work. I, the elder,
white hair down to my collar.
Six months each year
we lived a thousand miles apart.
Eagles soaring and dipping and wheeling high
in our hearts
watched over these four arms
that were and are
you arrived at the end of autumn,
returning south when summer came.
Now let us sleep together
before going the one-way sleep. I
never meant to leave you
There was something grinding
like the ocean. It was as if something hot,
dark, and destructive
was hitched to the highest, brightest star
–Floyce Alexander, ca. 1987,
from American Fires (2003)
[Italicized sentences and passages are quotations from Dorothy Norman,
Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer (Aperture, 1973); Georgia O’Keeffe (Viking, 1976); and Laurie Lisle, Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe (University of New Mexico Press, 1986).]