The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon; Some Say it’s Stars and Velvet, but I think it’s More Like Antebellum Wallpaper

In the art gallery beneath the Parthenon in Nashville,

There is an exhibit

consisting entirely of paintings

of victims in a civil war hospital,

And paintings of wallpaper designs from 1863.

All of the paintings are large canvases

with nice frames or plaques.

The eyeless man’s grey

is accentuated his smeary swollenness.

The single pink stripe on a blank canvas isn’t accentuated by anything.

It’s a painting of wallpaper.

This is how I imagine seeing the Grand Canyon would feel.

It would feel like blue and white stripes

and a man rejecting kidney inside a temple of art and science.


My father always tells the same story about the Canyon

And finally being able to see the stars

for what they are,

instead of pinpricks on velvet.

He thinks the Canyon helped him see the universe

in all of it’s true dimensional glory.

He says they used to be little lights

on a black dome over our heads,

but now he lives in the starfields.

I’ve watched the stars grow up, he says.

I’ve watched them for light years.

Bullshit, I say, light years are a measure of distance.



Rowan Brown is fourteen years old, a freshman studying writing at the Fine Arts Center, an arts-oriented, competitive, magnet high school. Her most recent publications include “1over8” magazine and the Creative Communications Young Poets Anthology. She is a reader for Crashtest magazine and has just won three honorable mentions, silver keys and a gold key in the Scholastic Art and Writing awards. Rowan is an avid participant in FIRST robotics and will be attending the World Robotics Championship for the third time this spring.


Art by Anastasia James.

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