'I will miss you, armadillos and ... tarantulas crossing the road in the dark'

entry picture

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.



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 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


◄ Red Letter Openings, 40th anniversary anthology, Open University Poets

Bloody Amazing: ed. by Gill Lambert, Rebecca Bilkau, Dragon Yaffle ►


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