Category Archives: Ethel Mortenson Davis

Enough

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

This last,
fading light
is enough
to carry us
across the field,
across the world,
 
enough
to lift us
from ourselves,
our mitered lives
in this small changeling
of a disappearing evening.

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Places We Recognize

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

When we are
desperate
and can’t recognize
the world,
we climb
into words,
grasp letters,
covet paragraphs
to find
smallness.
 
When we are
desperate
we go to this
small garden
to gather ourselves
in the act of
cleaning away dying plants —
to repeat our worth —
in places we recognize,
like the wounded fox
that crawls 
into the small culvert.

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The Reaching

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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One More Time

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

A baby wren
came to sit
in the burning bush
to show me
she has grown
into a strong bird.
With graceful gratitude
she came to show me
light in my dark world —
 
just as a matched pair of horses
pulled John Lewis
across the Edmund Pettus Bridge,
so he can be a light
in our black world
just one more time.

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Home

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Flicker

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

At dawn
a loud crash
sounded against the house.
A flicker lay struggling
on the ground,
his life ending.
 
A beautiful bird
with speckled chest,
yellow tail,
and red feathers
on his head
looked as though
his spine was broken.
 
I put him in a quiet
part of the garden.
His weak cries were fearful.
 
Later that day,
when I checked,
he seemed closer to death.
 
The next morning
when I went to collect him,
he was gone.
 
I want to think
he got up and flew
up to the top of my tree,
but probably a cat or fox
found him on their trek
across the country.

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The Seer

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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To the Innocent

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

To Troy Davis

I hope you are
in a place
where there is justice,
 
where there is love
unconditionally,
the end
 
where young men
no longer are lynched
by ropes,
or the machinations of killers,
 
where there is light
and not the suffocating,
ethered mud,
 
a place where you will
rise above humanness.
 
I hope you are in a place
called Justice,
a place that will never be named
Georgia.
 

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George Floyd

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

We saw how bad
the killing is
in this country.
 
But the many more
we did not see —
children, women, and men
in far away, hidden places,
unknown towns,
and mud-filled swamps.
 
No one recorded
their cries for help.
Their blood
has filled our land —
up to the withers of our horses,
touching the white wings
of angels.

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Unfurrowing

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The unfurrowing
of new leaves
is like a carefully
synchronized orchestra
with each musician
in exact harmony.
 
But we do not stand
and applaud.
 
Only Oriole gets up
and sings his splendid song,
dressed in brightly colored
vestments.

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