Norma Smith


Deer come back.
Quail come back.
Wild turkey descend.
Newts for whom
the rangers had already

Set time and space
aside for you

To court, have it all
to yourselves. I can see you
from behind this thin fence
of miners’ lettuce in the shade

in your amphibious orgies. We know
that humans suffer
what we call
a baby boom
nine months after disasters

Blanket us,
cushion us,

When our desire becomes
too much for us.

Canada geese settle down,
Neighbors, we know
your government
is making ready
for the refugees—that’s us
this time, yes, from the south.
They are wise
to isolate us.
I hear

Dolphins and swans re-inhabit
the medieval inlets and waterways of Venice,
now that the people
have diminished
one another, once again.

that there might be, once again, as long ago, past
our recollection, past our naming, past our calling,
peace on earth, as there was once. Hear

that scurrying.
Garden snakes return.
Wild nettle
was always there.

What can we do without,
without unearthing

For now.


0-45NORMA SMITH is a writer and social justice activist and organizer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked as a journalist, a translator-interpreter, community scholar-educator, event and conference organizer, and as an editor and writing coach and workshop facilitator. Her writing has appeared in literary, political, and academic journals. Nomadic Press published Norma’s first book of poems, HOME REMEDY, in 2017.

Other work
The Sun Comes Up

Link to Table of Contents.