She knew the mushrooms that were safe,
where to find young greens in March,
salves to heal the brown eyes of a calf.
She called a hummingbird to the porch
by magic—not in the honeyed spoon she’d extend
but in the perfect stillness of the hand.
She died long before it was time
for me to learn of other things they said
she knew—to make a neighbor’s horse go lame,
or his son, they said; how to hide the dead
fishlet from a girl she’d helped; to read
in fire and stars things better left unknown, they said.
Mary Ann Ramey
Mary Ann Ramey has a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.A. from Columbia University, both in English, aswell as graduate degrees in library science and law. She has worked as a librarian, a lawyer, and finally a member of L’Arche, a faith community which creates homes for adults with intellectual disabilities, and is now retired.
Artwork: Natalia Drepina, Autumn Treasures.