Skip to content →

Category archive for: Geffrey Davis

What I Mean When I Say Truck Driver

During the last 50 miles back from haul & some

months past my 15th birthday, my father fishes

a stuffed polar bear from a Salvation Army

gift-bin, labeled Boys: 6-10. I can almost see him

approach the decision: cold, a little hungry, not enough

money in his pocket for coffee. He worries

he might fall asleep behind the wheel as his giant,

clumsy love for that small word—son—guides

his gaze to the crudely-sewn fabric of the miniature bear

down at the bottom of the barrel. Seasons have flared

& gone out with little change in his fear of stopping

for too long in any city, where he knows the addict

in him waits, patient as a desert bloom. Meanwhile, me:

his eldest child, the uneasy guardian of the house.

In his absence, I’ve not yet lost my virginity,

but I’ve had fist-fights with grown men & seen

my mother dragging her religious beliefs to the bitter

border of divorce. For years my father’s had trouble

saying no to crack-cocaine & women flowered in cheap

summer dresses. Watch his face as he arrives at last

& stretches the toy out, my mother fixed

on the porch behind me, the word son suddenly heavy

in my father’s mouth, his gray coat gathered

around his shoulders: he’s never looked so small.

We could crush him—we hug him instead.

from Revising the StormFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2014
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

The Epistemology of Gentleness

       —for R

When you’re in love with someone

whose father has committed suicide, you demand

that the world be gentle with her now.

The world, of course, will not listen.

Still you go through the motions—smile to her

assure her of the small, human ways the world

will bend softly, now that you have set it straight.

And suddenly, to spite you, suicide shows up

everywhere. No story is safe, and people

these days will kill themselves over anything:

the home-team loss, stalled traffic, sappy love songs

overplayed on the radio. You find yourself turning

the conversations, the channels, storming out together

midway through movies. At the rental store, hand in hand,

you learn to predict nooses and medicine cabinets,

suicidal tendencies coded in DVD descriptions.

And you lie: The reviews got this one all wrong—or

—I’ve seen this one, darling. It would put us both to sleep.

from Revising the StormFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2014
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Farmer’s Market Sweet Plums: Apology to the Flower Lady

We have no issue with her, per se. Guilty,

we knew already what we wanted

long before we noticed the slow gesture

of her fingers: flower to scissors, to vase,

to flower again. Her painful carefulness—:

that anonymous labor for more

beauty qua beauty. She almost convinces us

to forget the fruit and choose the flower

in her hands:—to take from her

that burden of belief. Leaving the market,

with bags of plums bumping at our hips, we begin

to offer strangers that rounded sweetness,

one by one, desperate for her gentleness,

for her certainty in what the living need.

from Revising the StormFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2014
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.