Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Donna M. Davis - Three Poems


I walked outside
and all the words were gone;
the neighborhood was
empty of language.
Winter snow howled
a snaking silence.
No one was talking
about anything that mattered.
Unctuous politicians
with bad hair
had posted selfies,
taken billboards captive,
and stolen the thoughts
from every mind in the world.
Porches were missing
their morning newspapers,
but computers were turned on
to the vacuous websites of celebrity.
Someone famous had died,
and someone, who someone else
really knew, was dying
quietly offstage.
Cancer, heart attacks, suicides,
falls on the sidewalk ice,
brains fevered with crack,
none of this appeared
in daily obituaries
of the unrenowned.
The air was dense with
smothering disconnect,
and the robot voices of
talking heads sucked up truth
and spat it out sideways.
Gym rats treadmilled
sequences of  monotony,
anesthetized in place,
watched overhead TVs
in separate slots,
anxious to get home
and access their electronics
for another fix.
The words were still there,
but imprisoned,
clogged in boxes
with arrows, icons,
and cascading squares,
leading to more details,
opening up page after page,
and saying absolutely nothing.


The church had a basement chapel,
where votive candles flickered
on painted statues of saints.
A blonde, wafer-colored Christ,
wrapped in a winding sheet,
rested inside the communion altar,
visible through rectangular glass.
Solitary worshippers knelt down
in a single row of wooden pews,
sheltered in dusky shadow.
I went there because it was quiet,
because of the holy water font
shaped like a grotto with wet stones
covered in velvety green moss;
pennies lined its basin,
coppery with prayer.
I could hide there after school,
escape the harsh taunts
of mean girls in plaid skirts
and crewcut boys with thick necks.
I could walk to the back chamber,
where a life-sized plaster Jesus,
crowned with coiled thorns,
stood in a wrought iron prison
his back to barred windows
that framed the church parking lot.
If I stared at him too long,
he would seem to move a finger,
or roll an eye filled with blood,
as if he understood what I felt.
I kept this to myself all these years:
how I forced the lock of his cell,
when no one was around,
how I pressed holy water
to his forehead with a handkerchief,
and left the door open wide.


A teenage girl faces the mirror
and searches for it,
in the fullness of a breast,
the bow of an arched back.

Maybe she thinks a flicker of blue
brushed on narrow eyelids,
or pink dust on flat cheekbones
will bring her closer.

She stumbles toward its portal,
naked and unguarded,
presses her body
against the plane of glass.

The girl is trapped in an illusion,
not understanding perfection’s
improbably sublime surfaces
and smooth curves.

She doesn’t realize the truth,
but cries and turns away,
while flawed spheres of atoms
spiral and shower around her.

Donna M. Davis is a native of the Central New York region.  A former English teacher,  she owns a  resume writing and book design business. Her poetry has appeared in Third Wednesday, Poecology, The Centrifugal Eye, Red River Review, Ilya’s Honey, Gingerbread House , Oddball Magazine, The Milo Review, Halcyon Magazine, The Comstock Review, Aberration Labyrinth, and others. She has work forthcoming this summer in Slipstream Anthology. She was a special merit finalist and winner of several of The Comstock Review’s national awards contests.

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