Issue 5 – Davis1


John Davis


Words the language wants to take back
in its arms, nurse the hard consonants
into vowels. Words warm as hot water bottles.
Words cold. Words about as welcome
as a knuckle-sandwich on a playground.
Words ill-behaved, ill-advised strapped
inside a duffle bag, shoved in the back
back room of an airport lost and found.
Words on welfare. Words with the skin
of inner thighs. Words seven inches
from the flame. Words that have held
sermons for the dead. Mostly they are painted
black these words that shelter overnight
in my room, stretch themselves on grass mats.
Words famished for roast lamb, gravy
and butter-thick potatoes. Words so small
they are burning unseen. Words as thin
as piano wire, flexing themselves into a nocturne.
Words in milk dresses, words in smoking vests
rearranging a swamp into a bobcat county,
words tiptoeing through brush
then bashing down reeds so we might see
wooducks at the pond. Words do this
again and again. They do it.
They kick me and do it.