This poem is part of CavanKerry’s series for National Poetry Month. Every day in April, we post a poem from our community of writers.
by Margo Taft Stever
Evening tidings, the preparations,
each nestle, each cheep, like chicks calling,
the winnowing anomie, all
come to call too late, come
to call for sleep.
How a mother can change from angel
to sour mudqueen of all decay
by those who feel the sting, by those
who cry out.
Flail my heart upon the stone
in the grove near the riverbank,
rushing water to the river break.
Even the known becomes unknowable.
Their small eyes look at me like chicks
gathered against rain, staved.
Thin rivulets of fear, running-away-
with-itself fear, fearful fear.
No one can talk to you, no one
can listen, no one can touch you.
This is not stillness, this is not the keeper
of the estuary of the deep.
Don’t forget me, don’t forget that hill
the horses cantered you down
to the bottom land.
From this stone, ageless,
remember your mother,
a mother who loved her children.
“Bottom Land” was first published by Prairie Schooner and also included in Margo’s manuscript, CRACKED PIANO, which was recently accepted by CavanKerry Press.
Margo Taft Stever is an award-winning poet whose readings include the internationally acclaimed Troubadour Café, London; Cornelius Street Cafe, New York; Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival, Newark; and the Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai. Her first book, Frozen Spring (2002), was the winner of the Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry, and her first chapbook, Reading the Night Sky (Introduction by Denise Levertov), won the 1996 Riverstone Poetry Chapbook Competition.