American Life in Poetry: Moving to Santa Fe

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

There is a cer­tain delight­ful­ness in the rhythm and play of ​“Mov­ing to San­ta Fe” by Mary Mor­ris, in which she enacts the farewell song of some­one mov­ing from an old home to a new one.

In Mor­ris’ case, she is leav­ing a child­hood home in one part of the coun­try to a new adven­ture in anoth­er part of the coun­try, exchang­ing red dirt, peach­es and armadil­los for mud hous­es and the mesa.

If we are haunt­ed by this jaun­ty poem, it is because the images she invokes sharp­en adven­ture with a tinge of danger.

Moving to Santa Fe
By Mary Morris

I packed my boxes, beat the tornado.
My brother followed in his truck
with my bed and books of photos.

Good-bye father and mother, seven
brothers who fed us wild animals.
Farewell to the stone house strangled

with red dirt, rose rocks,
green hills, and burnt grass.
I will miss you, armadillos

and hairy hands of tarantulas
crossing the road in the dark.
Farewell friends. I’m not far.

Visit me in my mud house
under the shadow of the mesa.
Bring me peaches.

American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2020 by Mary Morris, “Moving to Santa Fe” from Dear October (Texas Review Press, 2020.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2021 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.