Jim Davis

On the Western Edge of the Black Forest

We sat with our baggage on our laps
as the 4:15 to Freiburg coughed into the station,
smoking and proud, come to take us
where the bell tower was a strong, ticking countenance.
Although I left my effects in the gray room,
we kept on, we drank cold bier
behind green-steel shutters, sunlight dotting the floor.
The clocks were off, the tower’s ochre clockface
was an afterthought
and the water-closet cost two coins, dropped
into a slot. It’s a war turret, a gun tower, you said,
knowing full well we’d be late for the band
squeezing bagpipes in the park. The graffiti art
was dazzling, it was everything at once,
blurred by our motion, and then
nothing as we entered the hill country,
covered in winegrapes. You turned your cheek.
You unwrapped a sandwich on garden bread,
seeds and oat scraps silting your lap,
thin slices of deli-meat between, you peeled back
butcher’s paper to snap one in two and passed me,
as we cut through quiet villas, one half.
You chewed, a crumb at your lip, and stared
out the rolling window, pointed to a place
at the top of an orange hill, and though
I leaned and craned my neck, I could not see.

JIM DAVIS is a graduate of Knox College and now lives, writes and paints in Chicago. His poetry and art have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly, The Ante Review, Chiron Review, The Café Review, Red River Review, and Midwest Literary Magazine, among others. In addition to the arts, Jim travels the world as an international semi-professional football player. www.paintstrong.com

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