Jenna Le: “Georgia O’Keeffe’s WHITE FLOWER”


Six black zigzagging anthers radiate

out from the popcorn puff the pistil is,

like sparse hairs static-charged until they frizz.

Around them, petals dragged by their own weight

toward stone floor lose the will to levitate

and, like champagne without the heart to fizz,

allow their morphine-unstrung consciences

to drowse so that their bonnet brims create

seafoam-tinted shadows where they loom.

Within these smears of green, philosophies

asphyxiate; faith gasps for oxygen;

all abstract things ebb out of life again;

the sole survivors then are frequencies

of jadeite light and oil paint’s sour fume.

Jenna Le is the author of Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011) and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2017). She was selected by Marilyn Nelson as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s sonnet competition and by Julie Kane as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s sonnet crown competition the following year. Her poetry appears in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, and West Branch.

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