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  • Jack Davis

Two Poems

Abbotts Creek

After the rain we ran in the backwoods. Seven

or so in the cold air burning.

We put planks of wood over the wide

creek eroding

the wet clay banks – Under

we hurled grenades

of magnolia-fruit, gripped wooden

rifles, and when hit held ourselves

over the damaged skin, kneeling. Mouth

gaped open. Mouth

of the river widened. As one boy took each body,

crossed the left arm over the dirty right,

another counted the dead

and the wounded, made mass graves

where we could bury this new warfare.

We threw the dark dirt. We held them.

Our foreheads soaked in sweat and rainwater,

we blew milkweed into their faces.

‘97 GMC Jimmy Plays Jazz, Empty Cul-De-Sac

we lay back

on the black bed

of a parking lot,

exiled from the usual

instruments of firsts

— cast into the lamp light

of a town that beat

boys like us into a

dense & hungered fog.

Under night,

our backs sticky

on cheap car leather,

our mouths played

like little trumpets,

jazz spurts trading

the head before the bridge,

his turn, then mine,

& then his, & then his,

a ringing, a sputtering, a cymbal,

before the song breaks.

It’s true I was touched before him.

(The empty park. A stale-cold hand.)

Though don’t be scared, reader.

Don’t be scared: Because this night, this boy,

I found calm

in his wide palm,

serious & firm

on my back.

A fossil fern

locked into stone.

Hold with me

this renewal,

when whatever needs shedding, sheds,

just as the silk

robes I can’t afford

come off,

& you,

invited now

to witness

this body,

absurd & humming in

his wet safety,

leaning me back

into the glass

pond of pleasure.


Jack Davis is a writer, teacher, and poet. He is the recipient of teaching and writing fellowships through Princeton University and most recently a Fulbright Scholarship. In 2020 he was recognized by the United Nations for his poetry installation Sauti, which featured poems from over twenty countries and seven languages. His work is published in Alien Magazine, Pinhole Poetry, and forthcoming in The Adroit Journal. He is an MFA Candidate at New York University, where he teaches undergraduate fiction and poetry workshops. He lives in New York City and owns no cats. Website:

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