Native Woman

By A. F. Moritz b. 1947
Her hair back from the wide round face
flows, almost a girl’s, so thick,
caught back in combs, racing
and curling through them with blackest
vigor, although it is pure white.
Cracked face, dusk-colored: not red
but with a deep red struggling under
the coming night. The eyes shift quickly,
the subway train jerks and rattles,
green vinyl, light flickering, silver poles.
Eyes driven from ancient calm,
which may fear but is never frantic
and says nothing, such as looks out
from the old Indian portraits—calm is
the one thing missing from the beauty
of her face in the black window.
Those unresting eyes there
talk plainly: there’s no money
at home, men young and old go wrong,
life almost at its end is
still day by day harried and perplexed.

Albert Frank Moritz, “Native Woman” from The Ruined Cottage (Toronto: Wolsak and Wynn, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Albert Frank Moritz. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: The Ruined Cottage (Wolsak and Wynn, 1993)

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Poet A. F. Moritz b. 1947

POET’S REGION Canada

Subjects Class, Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

 A. F. Moritz

Biography

A.F. Moritz (Albert F. Moritz) is the author of more than 15 books of poetry; he has received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Relit Award (for Night Street Repairs, named the best book of poetry published in Canada in 2005), an Ingram Merrill Fellowship, and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. A Canadian citizen, Moritz was born in Ohio and moved to Canada in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Class, Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION Canada

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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