Poem: Stumble

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by A.M. Davis

I happened upon a dwelling. I knocked.       A door       on a new house. A new place.

No railroad tracks in sight.        No streets with their cars.

No newscasters’ voices                                                in the next room

inventing stories of normal.                                               Of keeping peace.

In the raining of bombs                                                               on other peoples’


This time            only roads made of hoof prints

and bare feet.
I saw him once.                                Before a crowd.          I heard him say

something so love-filled                              at the precise juncture of all madness.

And right then

he spoke this:                                                                       “All beating hearts      earth’s heart

`                                                                             creatures’ hearts

the heart of all plants          and ours                         beat from that one place.

Then he spoke                of us all                       inventing

our humanity               as our last, final, best invention

after false starts and stumbling.                                    Spoke of us      moving to stumble

`                                      right out of our

`                                                               hopeless adolescence.

He stumbled away        from the lectern                    and down the stairs     he stumbled

and he stumbled again            into the throngs          as if to reiterate his point.

And with that I fell into love        with the stumbling        right out of our crazy

and fell

`       into love of stumbling into         something, it seemed,         more alive

`                braver                                                more exquisite           than the soft-bellied

hope                                                          of our survival.

As I grew older           and I forgot the whole affair                    of that day

traffic sounds and audiences         and his face falling toward all of ours,      upturned.

Until I came to knock     on that door     of that dwelling beyond some woods     of oaks

in that clearing                      with insects      buzzing like tiny sirens            while dancing

into a pause               by my knocking noise

on that door      or so I imagined.      And I startled            at the silence

and I startled     at the answer behind the door,            startled

that anyone would answer such an ancient door         new to me, but ancient

none-the-less—my knocking, a formality

`        from a lifetime      of habit      of knocking on                     closed doors —

And then he opened it.         His eyes          bright         dancing         his face

`                dipping                    toward mine.

`                                    His stumble.

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ann-marie-davisA. M. Davis was born and raised in Oakland, California. She is storyteller/poet, a speaker on behalf of the Earth. In 2007, she walked away from her job to devote her life to her creativity. Upon attending a silent meditation retreat, she found space of time in her racing mind, and discovered that she was not her thoughts. This led to daily meditation, retreats, and becoming part of the East Bay Meditation Center community. She recently discovered the Joanna Macy’s work, and the trajectory of her life finally made sense.

You can find more of her work at annmariedavis.com.

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