A Thousand Miles Beyond the Art Museum
by Patricia L. Hamilton

Without warning
at Exit 273 you drive into
the nineteenth century, the interstate
a sinuous black line through Courbet’s terrain
of tree-capped escarpments, the shadowed
density of Corot’s vegetation feathery
at the edges, the sky canvas-pale. In a gap
between domed Gaugin hills you glimpse
the audacity of Monet’s mingling pink
with blue to stave off the sun’s
abandonment. As the road careens
through sweeping Degas arcs, dazzle-rimmed
Maxfield Parrish clouds billow into view,
glory-white globes against an improbable plane
of cobalt, and you feel yourself hurtling
towards the pure exhilaration
of fiery Van Gogh stars.

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