:: Article

Two Poems

By Donavon Davidson.

The Man in the Moon

I didn’t know when it was safe
                                  to swim
so I had others teach me
                                  how to use my body.
How to make space
                                  in something willing.
How to knife, needle, and broken glass –
                                  to dive in all at once.
Or, how to be mercury, lead, and grains of sand –
                                  to sneak in slowly,
making something inside precious.

Like that, I turned the lights on very early.


I wanted to show everyone
                                  how perfect my colors were.

But, black was a doorway
                      where only a glow
                                  of a cigarette is seen.
Red, a mouth
                      that wants to kiss me
                              only where it hurts.
Blue, a body
                      in the rain
                                  waiting for a polite moment.

Each saying –
I can take you out.


I have dreams, now, of other people
                                  finishing my thoughts –
                      Ellipses of uncertain gravities.

That they are acting out my part
                                  in surgical theaters
so I cannot have
                                  the best of me
cut from the worst.

I’ve been brought here
                                  but I don’t know why.

My hands are tied.
                                  My feet are tied.
There’s blood
                                  where blood shouldn’t be.


I mean, I don’t feel love
                                  by how close it is
but by the absence of distance –

That you almost drown
                                  when I draw near.
That you almost live
                                  when I pull far enough away,
so you can see,
                                  in tidal mirrors,
little shells,
                      spirals that form
                                  deep within your body
you may not otherwise see,

and stars,
                                  that have not yet
abandoned your body.

After all this time
                      I learned only
                                  what I had been
capable of
                      not what I am
capable of.

It isn’t safe to swim, love.

You look like sharpened steel
standing in the rain.
                                  Now, come inside.


Incomplete Circles

I’m blinding the soft bellies
of spring.

Those that turn from umbilical roots
of apron strings.

I want to close their eyes.

Underneath paper thin skin,
dresses I’m not confident
to wear, bodies of teeth,
of bone, of surgical white –

My inside voice.

A first kiss
at the bottom of my nervous system.

The first story whispered
in my ear, buried
beneath the small snow
between my hands.

A curl of black hair
on the floor,
it’s unanswered question mark.


What the buried share
I taste
to cure a mother
of living.

A woman with a dark road
in her breast
trying to perfect the night
beneath her feet.

Prayers issued to birds
resting in trees,
the last rites uttered
over a bed.
For it is there,
where flight it expected
yet still not seen,

she hurts most.

Never to be emptied,
her suitcase is prepared
in this city,
for every city,

rehearsing a beginning,
a reflection,
a ghost.

Who is the accident of all
things clear.

Who still has a lot of dying
left to do.


This how the invalid is born.

In unexpected kiss,
before sleep,
gripped tightly

in the dark bed
of the river in their spine.

In the bedtime story
of a small child
whose smaller sling
can overthrow a giant, a white room,
a hospital.

In the fistful of hair,
teaching that the smallest part
of life,
no longer needed,

I still have to answer for,
is unsolvable.

All I can do is memorize
what pulls me down,

not how heavy things are.


Next to me is a woman,
          immeasurable hollows
of a deathbed scene.

What goes missing
disappears all at once.

A menagerie
of uncertain pressures,

versions of myself,
openly sane, privately

Next to me is a choir
full of bees
abandoning the hives

of their throats.

Such soft white bellies
with fortune cookie promises
of bad weather and reversals of fortune.

The unplanned accident
of the earth,
leaving tiny scars
whiter than my body –

incomplete circles,

eyes, at first,
trying to open

something clean,

something that isn’t finished
until I am,

that doesn’t weigh a thing.


Donavon Davidson holds an MFA from Goddard College, and his poetry has been published, or is soon to be published, in: Anti-, Arch, Anemone Sidecar, Pedestal, WordRiot, MiPOesias, Stirring, Evergreen Review, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, Quay: A Journal of the Arts, Holly Rose Review, and SNreview. He currently lives in Vermont where he is an adjunct professor at the Community College of Vermont.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, June 10th, 2011.