Camille Dungy lives in Fort Collins and teaches at Colorado State University. She’s the poetry editor for Orion Magazine and she has a new memoir out, called "Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden." As a documentary poet, Camille writes not just about headline-making news, but about news on a more intimate scale — about motherhood, marriage, and her garden. It’s an approach she says was very much inspired by the "godmother" of documentary poetry, Muriel Rukeyeser.
Camille T. Dungy
No one can fly down to bury his aunt.
The sickness is already there. That’s what
took her. And, anyway, we are stuck
at home. The moon swelled then emptied
into its shadow. We learned this week
the black singer died. Days later,
the white one. A man in the neighborhood,
young father of four. Lifted over the sink,
our child stood on the ledge and cleaned
the kitchen windows. It is bright outside
most days. Grass is greening up the yard.
An uncle died. Another aunt was taken
to the hospital. The moon swells again.
This feels like the early days of parenthood.
We swap watch. Focus on raising the child.
We’ve seen times like this before, we say.
Also, these times are like nothing we have
ever seen. When I came downstairs today
for breakfast, he was playing Lovely Day,
a song we danced to at our wedding.
We danced there, in the kitchen, all of us
howling those high and happy days. Lovely
day, we sang. Lovely day. Oh! Lovely day.
Camille T. Dungy
so little open prairie left little waves of bluestem little
fuzzy tongue penstemon quieter the golden currant
nodding onion quieter now as well
only a few clusters of Colorado butterfly plant still yawn into the night
where there once was prairie
a few remaining fireflies abstract themselves
over roads and concrete paths
prairie wants to stretch full out again and sigh—
purple prairie clover prairie zinnia
prairie dropseed nodding into solidago
bee balm brushing rabbitbrush—prairie wants prairie wants