Jim Davis

When Everything in the World was Wet

It began in the usual fashion, a small toothache
in my right rear molar. Smell of brewing coffee
after a good hard sleep, how rare it has become
to wake refreshed. The day was announcing itself
as something to note. I sat on the patio, that morning,
considering the starlike shells of huckleberry seeds
dropping into short grass and clippings, with a sound
like a television muting. The coffee was terribly hot
and burned and made my molar ache, but I sat
with my hands around it, warm. Pen and pad splayed
open on my lap. Nearby, rows of gray baby rabbits –
dead, stacked neatly, facing the same blank direction. Light rain.
Which reminded me of the dream I had the night before,
eating in a greasy spoon, pigeon cooing as bells
announced entry, a young boy playing clarinet
in the corner booth. The waitress brought me a plate
of scrambled eggs, spilled some on the way, picked up
what she could manage with long French tips, kicked the other
spongy fragments under the neighboring table. I’ll eat those eggs
I said, but you’ll have to do something about those shoes!
(Roman rope sandals laced up her calf, tan and toned.)
Someone attached a doorknob to the trunk of a tree, which was fine.
(And appropriate, given my affinity for rabbit holes.)
The waitress returned with a paper sack of apple cores, folded over,
asked me to leave. Now I’m back to the image of, as I slept,
a mother rabbit mournfully stacking leverets, lit only
by a scornful moon. What worship? What effluence is left
for such a task? Which days are best for scheduling
an appointment with the dentist? I wish to God I had a hammock
to sway myself to sleep. I wish to God I had a name not given me
by the enlightened chatter of jays. Tomatoes were clawing at their vines.
Two squinting eyes above the fence. What rest, I said, what kindly rest.
Mud packed in streaks beneath my fingernails, smeared to the quick.
Flood, said the crane, flying tight above the scene and understanding,
casting pall and shadow on the patio where I write. Flood, he said,
landing softly in the marsh of moons forgotten, and never-ending night.


JIM DAVIS is a graduate of Knox College and now lives, writes, and paints in Chicago, where he edits the North Chicago Review. Jim’s work has appeared in Seneca Review, Blue Mesa Review, Poetry Quarterly, Whitefish Review, The Café Review, and Contemporary American Voices, in addition to winning the Line Zero Poetry Contest, Eye on Life Poetry Prize, and multiple Editor's Choice awards.

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