Two Poems

by Jim Davis


He’d crushed a spider with bare feet before his mother
     caught him in boxer briefs, mirroring the MC
Hammer dance, typewriting across the TV,
     parachute hips engraining themselves
in the iconography of cool. There is much to be said
     of the Gulf War, but he’s too young. He blushed, she laughed
and he tucked into himself for a few years, sketching
     the line between charming and slick.
Days turn toward night and white rice steams in a pot
     on the stove above another boiling pot. Several worlds
wherein the sun’s shadow is a universe
     of suns. It’s true: we sit atop infinity, be grateful.
One should never say he took the long way
     home, but the slow way, for the sake of others
and the value of time over distance. It’s true
     success relates to loneliness – how he has yet to determine.
Sun folds flesh and spots it. And then
     you’ve either got it or not – if so it will be true
what they’ve said, how lonely the top can be, like the tip
     of an iceberg chattering after its body, submerged, sloughing
the sharp caps of itself – which is to admit that the bottom is colder
     and darker and equally alone. And everything
the newspapers say he’s done
     is so close to the truth there’s barely a margin of room
for the telling of actual truths – what relevance in relieving
     aces from caverns of sleeve, pulling handkerchiefs
from his lonely mouth. Skittering, shuddering, shuffling
     across various nondescript stages. Guilt and acceptance.
Progress and industry. Steamed rice and broccoli.
     Unctuous; and sincere. Oily ribbons of blood on the altar
of a man recalling the thoughts of a boy
     dancing through a world he hardly knew, fanged
arachnids becoming what others might be bothered by.

The City’s Black Ice

challenges traction. Aaron Rodgers’ clavicle
fused back, he’s in & throwing Chris Conte
picks. Tropicana OJ is supposed to break
down alcohol, drink before bed to limit your head
ache in the morning. Honeydew dawn, chia
seeds, greek yogurt & all this time I believed
unimagined pleasantries lay ahead. A small tickle
in the purple lip/black ice winter. It’s nearly time
to shed my seven year itch, wander-lusting a mountain
of images. The Bears’ defense has allowed five & a half
yards per carry this season, not today. I say stop
picking your teeth, wash your hands. Good advice is always hard
to stomach. There’s a huddle of smokers beneath the street-
light, barely time between quarters to tiptoe in a flurry
of rats in the dancing gutter. Personal foul, unnecessary
imagery. The crowd’s beer-soaked boos are accurate, bad

call. Do you hear that ticking? It’s the sound of cesium
methodically decomposing. If you feel like you missed something
it probably wasn’t me. Multiply black ice by the imagined
pi & you’ll unwind the city’s obsidian wire – if you were smart

enough to bring a spool, the city will bless you
with a window to throw it out of. I will not be one of those
who slips on ice. Nice try, Chicago. Chris Conte blew
his assignment. You should see the brackish morning pass by.

Hung heads pull shots of cinnamon whiskey. Our loss
is a mirror to an iced over galaxy. Scrape the window,
breathe into your fist. Live in winter’s timorous shadow, subtle
itch. Ice-reflects buildings like upside down trees.
JIM DAVIS is a graduate of Knox College and an MFA candidate at Northwestern University. Jim lives, writes, and paints in Chicago, where he reads for TriQuarterly and edits North Chicago Review. His work has received Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations, and has appeared in Seneca Review, Adirondack Review, The Midwest Quarterly, and Columbia College Literary Review, among hundreds of others. In addition to the arts, Jim is a teacher, coach, and international semi-professional football player.


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