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By Lorna Dee Cervantes

When summer ended

the leaves of snapdragons withered

taking their shrill-colored mouths with them.

They were still, so quiet. They were

violet where umber now is. She hated

and she hated to see

them go. Flowers


born when the weather was good – this

she thinks of, watching the branch of peaches

daring their ways above the fence, and further,

two hummingbirds, hovering, stuck to each other,

arcing their bodies in grim determination

to find what is good, what is

given them to find. These are warriors


distancing themselves from history.

They find peace

in the way they contain the wind

and are gone.


"Emplumada" from Emplumada, by Lorna Dee Cervantes, © 1982. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: Emplumada (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982)

  • Living
  • Nature
  • Religion

Poet Bio

Lorna Dee Cervantes
Lorna Dee Cervantes is a critically acclaimed native California (Chumash-Chicana) poet.  She is the former Director of Creative Writing and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado in Boulder where she has taught for 18 years. Cervantes’s writing evokes and explores cultural difference—between Mexican, Anglo, Native American, and African American lives—as well as the divides of gender and economics.

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