Another Church:
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pelvis with Pedernal

by Dr. Mary Ellen Brown


I sink and sink and there is no bottom.
White tugs like an albino albatross.
Pure and hollow, bone-singed edges worn smooth as melted ice cream.

I was most interested in the holes in the bones,
what I saw through them, particularly the blue
from holding them up in the sun against the sky….

The wide expanse of sun-drenched pelvis: horse, cow, ram, deer.
I am so close to its side, it dominates the space and my attention.
It’s like a shell at water level.

And beyond, Pedernal, usually a dark line on the horizon,
casts blue shadows into the close distance held against a slight blue sky.

Greys on greys, squints of brown, rinsed to mauve.
Follicles intrude over the seascape.
Fly, wave, fly, tow me airwards.

Mary Ellen Brown has had three incarnations as a writer. Her academic writing about women and media became her first book. Her memoir writing about her Louisiana childhood led her to the Great Smokies Writing Program, which has, in turn, led her to poetry.

About Another Church: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pelvis with Pedernal—Georgia O’Keeffe spoke a different language in her paintings, that of color, shape, and atmosphere, and she lived life on her own terms. It is this language and these terms that I tried to capture in this poem. (The quotation, in italics in the poem, is from O’Keeffe, accompanying illustration 74, Pelvis III, n.p.)