The Visit

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

From the air
I recognize
the greenness of the land,
but especially
the straight, square lines
of sections and highways—
unlike the winding, dusty
roads back home.

I bring a rose
for you, Mama,
nestled in among
names like Berg, Nyquist
And Olson.

Even here
they pick on a person
that does not fit in—
like chickens do
to the least of their own.

These are the descendents
of people who threw
boiling water
from upstairs windows
on the Anishinabe people
as they were marched through
the little towns of Minnesota.

I touch the turquoise
around my neck
and feel its warmth.

In that vast desert
back home,
there is a place called acceptance,
a place my people
would call
a wasteland.

4 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

4 responses to “The Visit

  1. Julie Catherine

    Oh, wow, Ethel … incredible poem; it made me want to cry for its truths.

  2. Deep core declaration on human reality. Thank you, Ethel…

  3. A powerful poem, coming straight from a great soul and a skillful poet. Not for the first time nor, sadly I fear, for the last, I am ashamed of the race I have been born into.

    Wasteland: there are different takes on that concept.
    “Ignorance”: in my family it was an alternative term for rudeness –
    and worse – while “ignoring” covers deliberately pretending
    that which is is plain sight is not there – but then again
    “ignorance” also means knowing nothing at all.
    Wasteland: there are different takes on that concept.

  4. I am still pondering the connection between acceptance and wasteland … powerful statement about how mankind treats his own … the wasted chances to care and support and understand each other … the acceptance that divison, powerplay, even cruelty are somehow necessary for survival … perhaps not altogether what you meant to convey in this poem, but how it got me thinking and feeling.

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