There are those for whom The Cross
is the phallus church
of Christboyo rising
in the nunnery;
but her cross is the empty neuter
nutless prong and crosscock
that weighs more than even
sunlight and soil—
that delineates a great black
barrier between pale heaven
and what gray we gain of earth—
that compresses joy-color
into thin strips (but still—the O! vibrant lumination
that finally—so neutral
so cold, claims cock
dominion over all.
“Georgia O’Keefe’s ‘Vision of the Black Cross, New Mexico'” appears in Have, a book by Lee Robison currently seeking a publisher.
I usually do not include visuals with my writing, believing that if I do not light the image in your mind with words, words have failed me. But in this case, the painting by Georgia O’Keefe that this poem critiques may not be familiar to some. So I show it.