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About this poet

Geffrey Davis is the author of Night Angler, winner of the 2018 James Laughlin Award and 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, and the Wabash Prize for Poetry, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Penn State's Institute for the Arts and Humanities. He teaches at the University of Arkansas and The Rainier Writing Workshop and lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

What I Mean When I Say Truck Driver

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. He worries
he might fall asleep behind the wheel as his giant,
clumsy love for that small word—son—guides
his gaze to the crudely-sewn fabric of the miniature bear
down at the bottom of the barrel. Seasons have flared

& gone out with little change in his fear of stopping
for too long in any city, where he knows the addict
in him waits, patient as a desert bloom. Meanwhile, me:
his eldest child, the uneasy guardian of the house.
In his absence, I’ve not yet lost my virginity,

but I’ve had fist-fights with grown men & seen
my mother dragging her religious beliefs to the bitter
border of divorce. For years my father’s had trouble
saying no to crack-cocaine & women flowered in cheap
summer dresses. Watch his face as he arrives at last

& stretches the toy out, my mother fixed
on the porch behind me, the word son suddenly heavy
in my father’s mouth, his gray coat gathered
around his shoulders: he’s never looked so small.
We could crush him—we hug him instead.

"What I Mean When I Say Truck Driver" from Revising the Storm. Copyright © 2014 by Geffrey Davis, BOA Editions, Ltd. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

"What I Mean When I Say Truck Driver" from Revising the Storm. Copyright © 2014 by Geffrey Davis, BOA Editions, Ltd. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Geffrey Davis

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.

by this poet

poem

For

who hands o-
ver their on-
ly begot-

ten any-
thing to this
white-teethed world

if god so
loved      I nev-
er knew him

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
poem

what kind of wound make a man
set his favorite rooster loose

             on a dying hen    what make the man

snap the neck of that twice-broken bird
before his child’s eyes    what make him see

             the bad idea after the fact—what open him

like a storm    what