Georgia O'Keeffe's Pattern of Leaves or Leaf Motif #3, 1923-4
They fill the frame, intense, close as a palm raised to your face. Deeply veined. Collage of layers. Background smoke. Three leaves overlaid, one on another.
Bottom one, only ruffled edges—a gray-green shadow. Middle leaf, white as if furred with mold. The top dark maple the colour of merlot, in places almost black like dried blood. A vertical cut clean through the pulp, zigzag of lighting strike. Yellow in the wound. Break of sunlight. Exquisite. Obscene. A plump heart yanked from a body.
A torn heart.
The slash so clean hints leafcutter ants. Voracious hunger that consumes in minutes. Flesh-eating driver ants in The Poisonwood Bible. A village runs for the river.
Is it hard to paint violence? To form that jagged gash, nearly disconnect one half from the other? To scar beauty. Inflame it.
Karen George is a retired computer programmer obsessed with art and photography, working on a poetry collection inspired by Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Emily Carr paintings. She’s author of five chapbooks, and two poetry collections from Dos Madres Press, Swim Your Way Back (2014) and A Map and One Year (2018), and her work appears at Adirondack Review, Louisville Review, Naugatuck River Review, Sliver of Stone, America Magazine, and Still: The Journal. She reviews poetry at http://readwritepoetry.blogspot.com/, and is fiction editor of the online journal Waypoints: http://www.waypointsmag.com/. Her website is: http://karenlgeorge.snack.ws/.
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