By Cortney Davis
Within the venerable culture of caregivers writing in regards to the therapeutic arts—a culture peopled by means of the likes of Anton Chekhov, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Walker Percy, and Denise Levertov—Cortney Davis brings to poetry the adventure, perception, and compassion of a nurse practitioner who day-by-day confronts the unforeseen frailties, passions, and tool of the flesh. Taking the physique as her textual content, Davis crafts her poetry from the rigors of work and the thrill of beginning, the depredations of affliction and the maintaining desire of restoration. She trains her transparent, unflinching gaze at the unfolding scene—a girl shipwrecked with a stranger; an grownup reinventing youth; an sick girl rediscovering excitement in her physique; a nurse understanding, in a single harrowing quick, that she is as susceptible as her patients—unerringly discovering the actual photo, the human element, that connects reader, author, and topic with the area. Primal, compelling, clever, those poems express us the way to see as in actual fact because the poet does, with empathy and beauty.
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Additional resources for Leopold's Maneuvers (Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry)
It’s me who is afraid. 46 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x 8x 9x 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 Nunca Tu Alma I turn my eyes from the girls’ thin bodies in Sarajevo and from corpses that ﬂoat down river like matchsticks, but here in the clinic I sit with Maya—a twelve-year-old, raped by her sister’s friend—who asks me Am I still a virgin? Three delicate tears lace her perineum, as if Maya has had a rough delivery. I culture for gc, chlamydia, draw blood for pregnancy, hiv.
He doesn’t wear glasses, like this boy, and he’s blonder than anyone waiting here. When I’m home, we’ll meet for dinner. The kid with spectacles, I think, will grow up to study ﬁnance in Cleveland. How’s work? I’ll ask my son, trying to catch up. He’ll concentrate on his plate. I’ll pick up the bill. 37 Nights after Mother Died I slept in the guest room, the high bed. My father snored from their room, her side empty. I was terriﬁed— of him seeing me naked, the bathroom door swollen so it wouldn’t close.
I watch my mother watching from her window frame. 24 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x 8x 9x 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 Parturition Coyotes quarrel with the Long Night Moon. I’m young. My ﬁrst child is due. I can’t sleep. Scorpions hurry to hide in every crack. I worry— will I be wiser than my parents? Back home, my mother wakes— her daughter’s face among dogs and rattlesnakes. She writes me: Scorpions invade my dreams. Are you in danger? But I love the coyotes’ dirge, their hollow outline on the ridge, and how the wild boar stink, wet with rain.