Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


King County Metro

In Seattle, in 1982, my mother beholds this man
boarding the bus, the one she’s already

turning into my father. His style (if you can
call it that): disarming disregard—a loud

Hawaiian-print shirt and knee-high tube socks
that reach up the deep tone of his legs,

toward the dizzying orange of running shorts.
Outside, the gray city blocks lurch

past wet windows, as he starts his shy sway
down the aisle. Months will pass

before he shatters his ankle during a Navy drill,
the service discharging him back into the everyday

teeth of the world. Two of four kids will arrive
before he meets the friend who teaches him

the art of roofing and, soon after, the crack pipe—
the attention it takes to manage either

without destroying the hands. The air brakes gasp
as he approaches my mother’s row,

each failed rehab and jail sentence still
decades off in the distance. So much waits

in the fabulous folds of tomorrow.
And my mother, who will take twenty years

to burn out her love for him, hesitates a moment
before making room beside her—the striking

brown face, poised above her head, smiling.
My mother will blame all that happens,

both good and bad, on this smile, which glows now,
ready to consume half of everything it gives.

Credit


From Revising the Storm (BOA Editions, 2014) by Geffrey Davis. Copyright © 2014 by Geffrey Davis. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Geffrey Davis

Geffrey Davis is the author of Night Angler, winner of the 2018 James Laughlin Award and forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2019. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Date Published: 2015-05-05

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/king-county-metro