The Poetry Distillery is an online literary journal established in 2018 publishing poems sown at the Poetry Barn, a Hudson Valley library and literary center.

Fragments for KVW

I. 

When we met, I truly believed
these huge trees we admired were ghosts
of the mangroves that slept in the mud
in a paradise I could expect.

Like wisteria vines wound so tight
they slice a slim road in the bark, 
your loss widens the path.

II. 

In the recordings she made in Zurich, H.D. says, wounded heel, and I remember how you called me Hermes. She says, purple sandal. When my grandmother killed herself, you called me Toth. How long did it take me to understand that, though I was neither, these two names were the same? 

III. 

violet violet hyacinth violet violet—
these are Sappho's epithets doled out slowly. 
Our minds traced them, brother, 
petal by petal.

IV. 

The older I got, the more often you called me brother; other times, Zeke—the name you three had invented for the imaginary son and sibling. If I could flood these lines with light, I would choose the light that gathers at the end of the day between the spindles of the staircase in the house we never lived in. 

V.

I wrote this (or something like it) once: 
she wants to walk into an emerald
What I meant was, I want to walk
into the hot heart of an emerald
and stay there, an eye inside
innumerable eyes, each one tuned
to hum green.

VI. 

In December, I flew down to see you. I waited all day. I drank house red at the new pub across the street and missed the crummy grocery that had once stood in that spot. Joni Mitchell came on the radio, but I ignored the coincidence. The door was red. Your house number still began with my birthdate, like the number above your office door, 328. When I saw your daughter, I knew how little I belonged. 

We talked about my son. And you asked me to repeat two lines of Elinor Wylie: "Down in the Puritan marrow of my bones, / there's something in this richness that I hate." Choose safety, you told me. I sobbed later, wondering how in the hell anybody chooses anything. I'd flown all that way, and I wanted to come the next day too, but when you said, This may be all the time we'll have, I believed you.

 

—Josh Davis


Joshua Davis holds MFAs in Creative Writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine and from the University of Mississippi. Recent poems have appeared in The Museum of Americana, The Midwest Quarterly, Monster Verse, and Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters. He is currently finishing a Ph.D. at Ohio University.

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