by Cortney Davis
–December 21, 2020
Tonight the air had the scent of earth, of dust,
like old books in a sunlit library rarely used.
We drove out to an overlook facing southwest,
hoping to see Jupiter and Saturn in conjunction,
the Star of Bethlehem―but it was too cloudy.
We waited twenty minutes, then went home.
Earlier, I’d worked for hours on my daughter’s obituary.
She’d sent me notes on her hobbies, where she’d been
employed, how her greatest joy was raising
her four children. The funeral home thought it best,
she said, to get these details in place, not to wait
until the last minute. I don’t know her cancer’s plan,
don’t know when the last minute will come,
but considering the year ahead, I see no stars guiding
the way, only the opened earth, the dust and drudge
of grief. Where are the other mothers who have lost
their daughters, who might be my guides and mentors?
Where are my helpers, now that I need them?
Cortney Davis, a nurse practitioner, is the author of four poetry collections, most recently “I Hear Their Voices Singing: Poems New & Selected.” Her honors include an NEA Poetry Fellowship, three CT Commission on the Arts Poetry Grants, the Prairie Schooner Poetry Prize, the Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize, and a Tillie Olsen Creative Writing Award. Cortney is poet laureate of Bethel, CT. www.cortneydavis.com