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Erika Mumford

Author Bio

Erika Mumford
Photo by Peter Mumford

Erika Mumford was an editor of Dark Horse, a poetry newspaper, and she taught at the Frost Place Poetry Festival, at Robert Frost's home in Franconia, New Hampshire. She published poems in several anthologies and many journals, and she is the author of four books. She and her family lived for extended periods of time in France and India. Within ten days of her death in 1988, she wrote poems that appear in her last book, Words for Myself (Every Other Thursday P).

Water Seller

At dawn beside a shallow sea
Pregnant Savriti leaves her house
of thatch and cardboard. Palms
snake upward, yellow trumpet flowers
surround an elephant-headed god.
Savriti in a crimson skirt
Carries brass jars of water on her head
From house to house. Her child
Shifts in the womb, she sways,
Her bare feet grasp the earth
like fists. The air is hot as blood.
Huge as mirages, supertankers march
in line on the horizon
and in the green lagoon among the slime
a flock of herons drifts,
souls born in bliss,
ice-white and pure as bandages.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Spring 1982), p. 85