17 Santa Cruz Poets — The 17th Annual National Poetry Month - 2012 PreviousNextHome


Amber Coverdale Sumrall
Amber Coverdale Sumrall
About Amber:
AMBER COVERDALE SUMRALL was born in California and has lived in Santa Cruz County since 1972.  She has edited or co-edited thirteen anthologies including, Storming Heaven’s Gate: Spiritual Writings by Women, Catholic Girls and Women of the 14th Moon: Writings on Menopause.  She leads Write to the Heart workshops: journal, poetry, and editing, and writing retreats in Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Point Reyes, and in Ireland.  For twenty- five years she has co-produced In Celebration of the Muse, an annual literary event featuring Santa Cruz women writers.  Her first book of poems, Litany of Wings, was published in 1998 by Many Names Press.  Her second collection, Refuge, was published by Hummingbird Press in November 2007. Her work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. She is a 2010 recipient of a Gail Rich Award from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County and the Santa Cruz Sentinel.


Big Sur Without Kathleen

The sky is an overturned bowl

of milky broth, the sea a slab

of variegated jade, not a single wave

breaks its surface. I kick the cold stone

of my heart down the narrow, winding road.

Not even the wrentits tossing songs

across the ravine conjure joy,

nor the hummingbird dipping into fluted

red sage. Now that you’ve gone,

who will polish the brass lamp of vision?

Who is there to kindle the soul’s flame?

©Amber Coverdale Sumrall


Questions for My Mother Before My Brother is Born

Is my sister sleeping in your tummy?

When she wakes up how will she get out?

Is there a cat keeping her company?

A black cat like the one I want?

How did God put my sister in there?

Does Daddy know?

Why is she kicking you?

Can the black cat sleep in my new bed?

Can I name him Midnight?

Can we name my sister Annmarie?

Will she be pretty like Marie next door?

Why is Daddy at her house so much?

What if you like my sister better than me?

If Daddy doesn’t like her will God take her back?

Why is she taking so long to come out?

What if God wanted me back?

Can I sleep in my sister’s crib tonight?

Please can I have my cat?

©Amber Coverdale Sumrall


Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not
I wake buried in sodden earth, claw my way to the light.

Wild roses tendril up the rusted swings. Children long grown.

Remembering you. A broken strand of beads.

My body bends to the ground, a witching stick.

Shame cuts deeper than any blade.

God: a dark star, dark horse, deadly nightshade.

The raven’s craggy call falls from heaven.

Wind stretches the trees, blows the nests away.

I know also that other song. The high voltage hum of hope.

Blue honey flowers summon bees from their hive in the garage wall.

Your smile, translucent glow of persimmons in autumn.

A thousand rungs on this ladder we have just begun to climb.

©Amber Coverdale Sumrall

Ancheta || Atkinson || Crux || Dancing Bear || Freeman || Glick || Ifland || Moody || Omosupe || Robbins || Sirens || Spencer || Sullivan || Sumrall || Tagami || Teutsch || Weisner
  Co-sponsored by Poetry Santa Cruz and phren-Z   A publication of Santa Cruz Writes