Jim Davis is an MFA candidate at Northwestern University. His work has appeared
in Wisconsin Review, Seneca Review, Adirondack Review, Midwest Quarterly, and
Contemporary American Voices, among many others. Jim lives, writes, and paints in
Chicago, where he reads for TriQuarterly and edits North Chicago Review. In addition
to the arts, Jim is a teacher, coach, and international semi-professional football player.
There Can Only Be One Lion
In the parlor with her bonnet, pale as
the children of snow, the undertaker's
daughter spoke of light. I get high in blue
rooms, play with hammers where architects
of charged particles glow & otherwise
are referred to as sky. They call me
Illinois Powerball: one hundred
million delusions. There is a plastic
African orchid in the campanile.
Pieces of peacock in the lionís den.
The Island is full of ghosts. She steals
the speech of sleep in another time
zone. I understand there are many paths
to the lighthouse. Lamb hearts in the bucket.
Milkmaid in Slippers
Ma'am, he tipped his cap & asked her
to empty the purse of her better self. Alone
in the old Victorian, silken bedsheets
where she spread out in underthings, heavy
with weeping — look away when I speak
to you. They say a good man washes feet
of cemetery statues. Where were you
the first time you mentioned leaving? Briar
of manthings & a home for such. Monarch
tapping at the half-glass of spilled milk.
Reciting scripture in the half-drunk nude.
He told the story of white elephants & carved
mountains before he was lured to the barn
like a suckling calf at the milkmaid's thumb.
Austrian Eruption under Formal Constraint
I am not thinking of social contracts
signed by a three-legged cat. Schrödinger,
apologize for the mess in the box.
I tape bottle rockets to a cattail
& watch it bob at the river before
exploding. Everyone does it the same:
shuffle around, devoted to a lit wick
then the sudden piss of thunder. Fish heads
cloud over in a bucket. If you are
able to advance without weapons, you
don't know the meaning of the word. Genius
interpretations of translated German
in lieu of summer reading. Erwin spent
a day at the peach with sand in his pits.
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