Before orgasming with a man, I believed
Georgia O'Keeffe's Irises beautiful, light,
I considered white a color, not a lack of,
I knew nothing about art, about irises,
about the emptiness we spend our lives
trying to fill. I thought I was alone, one
flower on one canvas, spread like petals,
waiting. I never considered the difference
in perspective, Van Gogh's Irises in the wild
versus his irises cut in a vase on a table.
Is this how a man sees a woman? I masturbated
and felt shame. My mother caught me and
I couldn't look her in the eyes, they were
O'Keeffe's images before I knew of her paintings--
her haunting Black Irises, the center,
totally devoid of light or maybe all colors merged
a feeling that can't be translated into just words.
Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Falling Forward, a full-length collection of poems (sunnyoutside, 2009); The Map of Our Garden (verve bath, 2009); Dream Big Work Harder (sunnyoutside press 2006); The Tear Duct of the Storm (Green Bean Press, 2001); and the poem "Logic" on a postcard (sunnyoutside).