Leave the Barren Fields by Mary Morris


“Leave the Barren Fields” by Mary Morris


Enter water, swimmer.
Touch the muddy floor.

Reappear dripping
to be born for this.

Cover the body with honey
on the night of a new moon.

Gather and eat soft eggs of a raven,
drink milk from a goat by noon.

Awaken at midnight feedings.
Draw the ovaries.

Paint in panthers,
ruby-lit flowers.

Gather your voice at the river.
Sing with the loon.

Read Grimm’s fairy tales
to children in the next village.

Adopt a field or a horse.
Take on a juvenile

stealing your money for her addiction
or a boy herding his bony cow

across Darfur.
Be sworn in.



First published in Prairie Schooner



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Mary Morris Artist Statement:

Mary Morris’s poems appear in Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, Boulevard, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. She is the author of three books of poetry: Dear October (Arizona- New Mexico Book Award), Enter Water, Swimmer (runner-up for the X.J. Kennedy Prize), and Late Self-Portraits (MSU Press Wheelbarrow Books Prize, a book about epilepsy and women, selected by Leila Chatti). A recipient of the Rita Dove Award, Western Humanities Review Writer’s Prize, New Mexico Discovery Award, and National Federation Press Women’s Book Prize, Morris has been invited to read her poems at the Library of Congress, which aired on NPR. Most recently, Kwame Dawes selected her work for American Life in Poetry from the Poetry Foundation. www.water400.org


Author: A Room of Her Own

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