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American Life in Poetry: Taos

The paintings of Georgia O'Keefe taught us a lot about bones in the desert, but there's more to learn, and more to think our way into. Here's a fine poem by Jillena Rose, who lives in Michigan.


Bones are easier to find than flowers

in the desert, so I paint these:

Fine white skulls of cows and horses.

When I lie flat under the stars

in the back of the car, coyotes howling

in the scrub pines, easy to feel how those bones

are so much like mine: Here is my pelvis,

like the pelvis I found today

bleached by the sun and the sand. Same

hole where the hip would go, same

white curve of bone beneath my flesh

same cradle of life, silent and still in me.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2011 by Jillena Rose. Poem reprinted from Third Wednesday, Volume 3, Issue 1, Winter 2011, by permission of Jillena Rose and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2012 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.