It’s been a hundred years since those iconic hands
pulled her collar around her chin,
dark eyes staring away from Stieglitz.
When Charlene was twenty-five, she bought
a book of O’Keeffe’s letters,
read them on the flight home from LA,
hoping to learn how to be a woman.
O’Keeffe might have been the same age then
Charlene is now, but Charlene works
in marketing, corporate hands on her butt.
And when her married boss wants to take her
for martinis, she knows she still has to pay rent,
the head of HR is his friend, and even a trailer
in Abiqui is sixty grand.
Sometimes, Charlene wonders where
the new Abiqui might be:
Honduras? one of the Stans--
She bets she could get a stone hut for cheap,
walk the sheep-studded hillsides in search of poems.
But she’s got no Stieglitz, back in New York,
championing her. She’d end up
writing poems in the cold, dark
eyes staring across the empty steppe,
hands frostbite-white against the black
wool blanket she pulls close
around her throat.
Laurel S. Peterson
Laurel S. Peterson is an English professor at Norwalk Community College and her poetry has been published in many literary journals. She has two poetry chapbooks, That’s the Way the Music Sounds (Finishing Line Press) and Talking to the Mirror (Last Automat Press). and a full length collection, Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (Futurecycle Press). She has also written a mystery novel, Shadow Notes. She currently serves as the town of Norwalk, Connecticut’s poet laureate.
The Ekphrastic Review
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