Peg Davis

Right Here, Under the Milky Way

There was always Orion, wherever we were:
at the start, where the river bent, here,
where we emptied out.

Seemed to me he was at the end
of all those roads, every season, like
he always knew what we were heading for;

it didn't matter what direction we were going,
or what we had to say,
not even what we thought we had to do;

he'd just be there, rocking back and forth,
season to season, splayed out, summer sky,
all across winter's coming, too;

(though his expression would never change,
or the way he'd buckle that belt--
the habitual stance:

sword up, steady as a rock,
gonna get that bear no matter what).
No matter if your mother called,

or war broke out.
Not even when the baby died;
though I bet he thought about it:

how even the smallest stone can change
the way a river flows,
whether you want to believe that or not.

Who knows what we're holding up down here,
or whose road ending is going to make
the difference;

which turn will make him clear his throat
and disappear,

the bear's feet,
lumbering off,
sounding like thunder . . .

Copyright 1994, Peg Davis

Peg Davis recently earned a MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. She is
retired from a teaching career (both Agriculture Education and English) and is
currently farming in Virginia. Ms. Davis received a Billee Denny Murray Poetry
Prize, 1994; a Penumbra Prize, 1994; and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize XX in