issue 31 poetry

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Blue No. II, watercolor, 1916

by Karen George

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Blue No. II, watercolor, 1916

Two blue ears float in an off-white bath—
echoes of each other. Lobes, royal blue

bleeding to paler tones, hints
of muddy teal and sea green, smudged

to imply muffled hearing.
Sinister, to see ears unattached.

Below, four parallel lines—diagonal slathers
same degression of blues, dark to light.

Are the lines soundwaves
traveling toward the ears?

Will the ears unspool
to make more linear streaks?

The four lines look furious
like words to burn ears.

The ears, placid. It takes care
to construct a curve.

Or are the ears fiddlehead ferns?
No, nautilus shells
destined for a slanted seabed.

Karen George, author of Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and Where Wind Tastes Like Pears (2021), has poetry in Slippery Elm (winner of their 2022 poetry contest), Adirondack Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Cultural Daily, Indianapolis Review, and Poet Lore. Her website is