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Academy of American Poets Summer Series. Recorded at the New York Public Library, July 15, 2014.

About this poet

Geffrey Davis is the author of Revising the Storm (BOA Editions, 2014), which received the 2013 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. His other honors include the Anne Halley Poetry Prize, the Dogwood Prize in Poetry, the Leonard Steinberg Memorial/Academy of American Poets Prize, the Wabash Prize for Poetry, nominations for the Pushcart Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and Penn State's Institute for the Arts and Humanities. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

 

 

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.

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

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

Geffrey Davis

Geffrey Davis is the author of Revising the Storm (BOA Editions, 2014), which received the 2013 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. His other honors include the Anne Halley Poetry Prize, the Dogwood Prize in Poetry, the Leonard Steinberg Memorial/Academy of American Poets Prize, the Wabash Prize for Poetry, nominations for the Pushcart Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and Penn State's Institute for the Arts and Humanities. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

 

 

by this poet

poem

             Time’s going has ebbed the moorings
to the memories that make this city-kid

             part farm-boy. Until a smell close enough to
the sweet-musk of horse tunes my ears back

             to tree frogs blossoming after a country rain.
I’m back among snakes like slugs wedged

2
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2
poem

During the last 50 miles back from haul & some
months past my 15th birthday, my father fishes
a stuffed polar bear from a Salvation Army
gift-bin, labeled Boys: 6-10. I can almost see him
approach the decision: cold, a little hungry, not enough

money in his pocket for coffee.