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Chad Davidson

Chad Davidson is the author of From the Fire Hills (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), The Last Predicta (Southern Illinois University Press, 2008), and Consolation Miracle (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and the coauthor, with John Poch, of Hockey Haiku: The Essential Collection (St. Martin’s Press, 2006). He teaches at the University of West Georgia and lives in Carrollton, Georgia.

By This Poet

5

This is the Cow

She must be milked every morning so that she will produce milk, and the milk must be 
boiled in order to be mixed with coffee to make coffee and milk.
			—Gabriel Garcia Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Imagine the years being sucked out 
of you, the losses so numerous 
you counted gains instead: the shiver

of holy water, your quinceañiera, 
burnt cedar, the faith in the cross-
town taxi in Mexico, not knowing derecha

from izquierda. Think of all the shattered
glasses, cursing the sky, women you keep
yearning for. You taste the slow arrival

of the moment only to watch it fade
anxiously. Now think of absence, staring
at some beast in a field and saying never

have I seen this thing in front of me.
When the cow moos you will understand
the simple lexicon of the green

in its mouth, the dynamics of the jaw like 
nothing you can’t recall, have never seen.
And what impossible eyes--unlike yours--

swelling with your losses and successes;
they too are losses, ready to escape
your skin like the sweets of a piñata,

the dull thud of the instant still there,
when you realize that to know this beast
by name is to lose this beast, lose it

hopelessly in the catcombs
of names for other things: the coffee bean,
your blood, the ripe guava, penitence,

the left bank of the river, crumbling,
where you learned cow from awkward profile,
milk-heavy, its one eye, reflecting.

The Match

The burner and the blackout crave you: pilot
of heat, purveyor of the innocent
candle and cigarette, light we tamed
then fed to the night. Cupped, inviolate,
a winter moth, a prayer we never sent
away, you live in seconds what we name
a life, a sudden cleansing. You Prometheus
come as toothpick, the false fire lent
to our fingertips, lightbulb of the lame
idea: may your phosphorus forgive us,
old flame.

The Pear

It’s the consistency of flesh that drives us,
how a pome ascends the stairs
of its origin. A boy shakes

pears down off the higher branches
as his friends scavenge underneath,
groping for the thing necks.

If you find yourself holding one,
hungry, if that’s the word,
then you are testament

to what festers in its fattened lobe
like a ball of sugar bees.
Here is Augustine, his thin

fingers tearing into skin
that barely holds the pulp
around its core. Poised nudes

forever in their sunny chairs,
they await whatever plucking 
comes. When they’re eaten

with darkness plunging
always further into their hearts,
a few seeds ache then swell black

as appetite. Or as their profile
imitates a lover’s falling
breasts, we take them in

as we do our own bodies,
as infants do, wanting anything
to give our wanting form.