Much Morning

Soft tones swan up from backyard bowels, 
tender pulse of a waking ravine. Through
nostrils of garden a hummingbird orbits
my socked ankles, drunk on red, in fetch
of dawn. Inside, a phone call from miles
so far away.  My birthday ruptures and stains.
Your mother’s gone in wheelchair slumber, 
head collapsed forward into her lilac pillow, 
hands the folded birds in her lap.  My uterus 
spits tremors, her first grandchild’s embryo 
can’t weather the storm.  I stumble into 
the swells of morning.  Hummingbird darts 
to a stand of shagbark hickories steady 
in sunlight, and in the shadows, a birth/
death anniversary throbs, readying for a  
lifetime’s return, braided tight.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has appeared in various publications including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Slab, [PANK], Crab Orchard Review, RHINO, Grimm, Hotel Amerika and The Main Street Rag. Her work has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her tenth poetry collection, How to Board a Moving Ship, will be published this fall. Please contact her through her website:

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