Ghost Ranch: Georgia O’Keeffe
by Philip Gross

How far can you get
from the attics, ateliers,1 insect buzz
and shove of openings, private views?

Here, there’s nothing but studio,
5 inside, outside. Nothing.
But this face

with its hardening angles,
bank-clerk’s hair, has grown mannish
as a frontier woman’s. How far

10 can you get from iris throats,
swallow-you-in-one gulp mauves,
from night blacks, pollen sulphurs

that enfold you like a child
in mother’s wardrobe? And why
15 should it come as a surprise

if bare rock opens for her
like a flower, giving up colours
like scents to the sun—not like boom-

and-bust-in-one-day desert flora
20 but slowly, hard come by, the bloom
of the whole West? Oh, spare me

the poetry, her eyes say. Look
til you are what you look at:
25 Gulches.
Going blind

as if from too much sun glare
those eyes narrow on some distance
I can’t grasp. I haven’t got that far.

On which time period in O’Keeffe’s life does the writer focus in “Ghost Ranch: Georgia O’Keeffe”?

her later years in Taos, New Mexico

her time as a commercial artist in Chicago

her return to Texas when she did charcoal drawings

her years at Lake George and New York City, New York
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