Stronger at the Start – Jim Davis

JIM DAVIS is a graduate of Knox College and an MFA candidate at Northwestern University. Jim lives, writes, and paints in Chicago, where he reads for TriQuarterly and edits the North Chicago Review. His work has appeared in Seneca Review, Adroit Journal, Sheepshead Review, New Plains Review, Whitefish Review, The Café Review, and Contemporary American Voices, in addition to winning the Line Zero Poetry Contest, Eye on Life Poetry Prize, multiple Editor’s Choice awards, and a recent nomination for the Best of the Net Anthology. In addition to the arts, Jim is an international semi-professional football player.

Stronger at the Start

Hinges like teeth, tiles tilting from residual malt
filtering through the bowels of a minor god
flipping through a notebook on the pot.
He writes. Forget me now, Dione, as if you could
possibly maintain the position of forgetting, let slip
your web of knotted sinew, of bone, of gristle
in your grip like a briar. There is a woman, naked
but for a robe, and then without a robe. Nothing has ever been
discovered through hair, eyelashes, or fingernails – in order
to paint what’s there you’ll have to see what’s not, what is, and how
they trade symbioses, in gesture and sense – see her
without pretense, outside sequential logic, for she, Dione, is
beyond us, and is us, and likewise is not. Without
her, we fall without knowing, the proverbial rug is wet
with flakes of leaf and compost, yanked out from under.
When psychology is beyond cartography, he will leave
the present Venus of Urbino with her foot propped up
on a bucket, a small heating fan whirring at her back.
He loved her once and wonders now
if it’s possible to fall out of love, how slow
the decent must be. Yet here he is, reading graffiti
on the inside of a bathroom stall, standing at the precipice
of a plunge the artist can hardly imagine.
Shadow, forget-me-not, blue, then shadow.
Before the writing on the wall comes to life.

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