Carol V. Davis
I am the author of Between Storms (2012). I won the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize for Into the Arms of Pushkin: Poems of St. Petersburg. Twice a Fulbright scholar in Russia, my work has been read on NPR and at the Library of Congress. I received a 2015 Barbara Deming Memorial/Money for Women grant. I am poetry editor the Los Angeles newspaper, the Jewish Journal.
Editor's Note: When I read this poem in the American Life in Poetry mailing I knew I had to publish it. Thank you Carol for your persmission to do so.
I do better in animal time,
a creeping dawn, slow ticking toward dusk.
In the middle of the day on the Nebraska prairie,
I’m unnerved by subdued sounds, as if listening
through water, even the high-pitched drone of the
cicadas faint; the blackbirds half-heartedly singing.
As newlyweds, my parents drove cross country to
Death Valley, last leg of their escape from New York,
the thick soups of their immigrant mothers, generations
of superstitions that squeezed them from all sides.
They camped under stars that meant no harm.
It was the silence that alerted them to danger.
They climbed back into their tiny new car, locked
its doors and blinked their eyes until daylight.
-first published in Harpur Palate Vol. 13, No. 1 (Country Living Issue), Summer & Fall 2013
©2015 Carol V. Davis