Tag Archives: memory


by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Sometimes I want to go to you
but remember that I have
put you in a special room
far from here,
a room, nonetheless,
with an open door,
so that I can enter

So, I can see
your smile when you
were running with Shiva,
the golden lab,
through autumn leaves
in a special forest
long ago.
So, I can walk through that door


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

In the Nursing Home

by Thomas Davis

Memory silks like a worm
into a place where comfort ought to be.

Inside a kitchen, bristling with energy,
the woman sits beside a young man
who looks as if he’s lost what self he had.

“You can’t tell anyone, no relatives.”
Her voice was hitched, almost a whisper,
but still as strong as springtime river currents.

The young man looks at her, tongue-tied.

“In Dalhart, Texas, years ago,
you had a second cousin birth twins,”
she said. “The scandal tore the family
as if a funnel cloud had come from nowhere,
ripping our family tree and smashing it
to smithereens, its remnants strewn debris.”

She looked at the young man, saw how words
had brought blood to eyes, reddening them,
hands clutched below the table.

“One twin was black, the other white,” she said.
“Your cousin’s husband concluded sin the moment
the doctor tossed the news into his craw.”

She wrung her hands upon the tabletop.
“It weren’t no sin, though, not a raindrop’s worth.
They traced the family back to New Orleans
where a white Frenchman married a slave woman,
giving our family Nigerian blood.”

“Our family?” the young man asked, stunned out of hurt.

She grinned, triumphant. She’d nicked away the words
nursed inside his I-ought-to-go-eat-worms.

“Your relatives deny it’s true,” she said.
“People in that bigoted town saw twins
downtown, a boy and girl, and slurred their hate
in spit-fulls, but it wasn’t sin at all.
It was human spinning generations
into a mix that makes humanity.”

She looked at him again. “The relatives
Will kill me if they know I’ve told that tale.”

Inside the small, dark room, I look at her,
Into her eyes. She doesn’t look at me.
Alive inside her emptiness, old age
An eraser, she doesn’t know I’m here.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis


a pastel drawing by Ethel Mortenson Davis



Filed under Art, Ethel Mortenson Davis


by Ethel Mortenson Davis

When the rarest
rain shower
finally comes to the desert
in early spring,
it softens the rocky soils,

soil that feels
like the ears of horses,
velvet and warm,
ears you want to kiss
or hold,

or the soft lips
of the work horse
who used to search
my deep pockets—
winter pockets–
for the carrot
or apple.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry


by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I will take the key
that unlocks you
and peer inside
to see yards and yards
of colorful fabric
on assorted bolts,
some material so thin
air and light comes through,
some so soft and thick
it feels like gray wool
from the long haired mountain sheep.

There I find a memory
from a northern forest
when snow filled up the floor,
and wind blew so strong
we looked for shelter
and found a circle of white cedar
whose branches hung down like loving arms.
Inside the circle
snowflakes were suspended in mid-air
as if in a crystalline hour glass.

And then there was the memory
of the sweetest summer night
in the high desert
when cool breezes played with us
to the tune of dancing hummingbirds
chatting to each other
as the fullest moon came up over the hills:

Two braided ribbons I’ll place around my neck
and wear forever.

© 2010 I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry