poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

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 The Night Angler, forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2019, and 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.

 

 

What I Mean When I Say Elijah-Man

           And it came to pass, […] there appeared a chariot of fire
           and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah
          
went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it,
           and he cried, My father, my father . . .
                                            —2 Kings 2:11–12

That Sunday in Chehalis, my father testified
and I watched as he wept before the pulpit,

his shoulders heaving, his hands
clapping up thunder above our heads,

his mouth open on the note of awe as he told us
the promise God had made in the dream:

to bring him Home before he tasted death . . .
to wake him with the scent of flowers, proof

of His presence. I learned to cry like that, as if
I could sprain the heart, the body hurting its way out.

But that morning my mind snuck
back to the nights he took paychecks and split,

sometimes for weeks, his head and body
humming for dope, his wife and kids

suspended by the boundlessness of waiting.
If he returned, if his pockets were empty,

if the locks had been changed, I’d watch
from the window as he jumped and hollered,

wide-eyed and ripping the gate from its hinges or
shattering the windshields of cars along our street

with his fists—how, as the sirens drew near,
not even God could stop him.


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

Geffrey Davis is the author of The Night Angler, forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2019, and 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

I.

Months out from my bout, I return home
after training deltoids and biceps to push

past the letdown of exertion—to never
stop throwing punches. Our baby boy

bides time in L’s belly, two weeks late,
and she smiles, names me her gentle boxer

as I shadow my

2
poem

this the week of our son’s first
upright wobble from kitchen

to living-room    and he begins planting
tiny Os wherever his fleshy fingers

poem

                     —for L

Together in the garden, a cigarette cradled
between her fingers, she tells me of breeding

cockatiels—clutch after successful clutch, and what
she can’t forget: the time of one-too-many and

the smallest chick pushed from the nest.
How she thought

2