Like a Veil Over the Country You Come Across
a Cross in Almost Any Unexpected Place
by Sarah Rogers

I always called it
the black place.
Though a lot of it
is gray, I wouldn’t
think of calling it
the gray place.

If you could see it,
if it wasn’t white
you’d see it. I mean
if it wasn’t half white
with snow—

It’s an especially
fine place
to climb around in.
Wouldn’t you?
Wouldn’t you climb
if you were here?

I’ve walked
along the top
in all kinds of weather
so that if I got off my chair
it would blow away.

From the other side
there’s a strip of color.
You don’t see it
because it’s in shadow,
a strip of pink, red, and yellow—

The Indians would be
under the trees.
There wasn’t any place
for me in the shade
but under the car.

The cliffs over there
they’re almost painted
for you, you think
until you try.

I thought someone
could tell me how
to paint a landscape
but I never found
that person, had to

just settle down
and try. I thought
someone could

tell me how
but I found
nobody could.

They could tell you how
they painted their landscape
but they couldn’t tell me
to paint mine.

PHOTO: Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) with her painting “Red with Yellow” near her home in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Photo by Tom Vaccaro, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SOURCE: Georgia O’Keeffe, documentary produced by Homevision (1977).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Heavenly influenced by art, I chose to appropriate the language of landscape painter Georgia O’Keeffe.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Rogers is a poet and researcher living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Originally from Indiana, Sarah writes about nature and place.