The Grey Hills

The Grey Hills

Georgia O’Keeffe [painting in her Model A Ford, New Mexico]

Just past Navajo Country, miles
of malpais. I always go
prepared to camp—tent, stove,

and my valise: oils, drawing sticks,
pastels—you never can tell.
Sand-blasted ventifacts, dunes

like a stiff-tipped meringue.
Gamboge- and saffron-
banded badlands. Off the main

road, pebbles ting the car’s carriage,
while clumps of high green ephedra
shush along the doors. Under

the half-shade of a cedar, I lean
a canvas on the back seats, spin
my seat to face it. By four, the bees—

pollen lolling, drunk on color.
Dumb blot of bodies on canvas,
wallow in cadmiums and cobalts,

they are too encased in paint to fly
or breathe. Still, I envy
their immersion; step

outside. The winds lift
such gales of earth,
they dusk the day. I am sanded

to the recess of every crease
and fold. Return home heavy with it,
set to make a honey of my holdings.
Jessica Jacobs is the author of Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press, 2015),
Hendrix College and faculty for Writing Workshops in Greece, she lives in Little
Rock, AR with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown.