Journal of Writing & Environment

O’Keeffe, with Stieglitz [Stieglitz family summer home, upstate New York]


As it’s the only place to be alone, Alfred rows us

to the middle. I close my eyes not to miss

the pause in motion

when the paddles catch, the surge forward

as he draws the oars in, tranquil

drift of their re-expansion—great wings

suspended from the oarlocks. It begins

to rain. His mother lurks in a doorway. Alfred turns

toward shore. But I stop his hand, stand, and am

over. A palm on the gunwale, eyes

lake-level. In response to each drop,

the surface sprouts pipettes

of water, a thicket of sudden small shoots.

Blued banks and mountains

join their reflections like a zipper,

trees to trees, dimple and nib. Alfred pulls me back in.