I felt quite thorny, full of wheels
and empty spots, limp from looking
over the edge, a battlefield terribly torn.
I made up my mind to try my own cure
but I couldn’t go into it broken.

The world hurts, too many folks taking
pieces of me. I am here and I am not here,
a shell with a floating middle. I need
to breathe in my own way, get out
where the world is big and quiet.

I want to paint rich saturated pigments,
a language of line, a breathing
color reaching for violet and purple.
I want to paint fat-looking fig trees,
a lush soft green feel of birds,
a sweet stillness warm pink and lavender,
the Rio Grande River running
red from rains, bulging
out of the canvas.

Something is happening in me.
I am beginning to feel
as if I have dozens of selves,
all creation going through me
unfolding, blossoming—
a sled tearing downhill,
a piece of fast-burning wood.

But I am only a scrap,
little more than a thread
of the circle that nothing can break,
the desert stretching on and on
like the ocean, dark. Maybe blackness
is the pure thing after all—
the thing you cannot soil.

~ Cento of lines/phrases found in “My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz: Volume One, 1915-1933 .”