Jim Davis – two Poems

readingartcolonyJIM 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 North Chicago Review. His work has received Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations, and has appeared in Seneca Review, Adirondack Review, The Midwest Quarterly, and Columbia College Literary Review, among hundreds of others. In addition to the arts, Jim is a teacher, coach, and international semi-professional football player.


Beatrix Potter

A man entered the store with a drawn pistol
& a blue jacket the petite Pilipino witness likened
to Peter Rabbit’s. The lieutenant lit a wooden match

& held it to the paper void at the tip of a cigarette
& said razor thinking has so much to do
with sleep, don’t you think, which has so much to do

with how many ginger-molasses cookies you eat
before bed, before stubbing his ember in the juice
of a mincemeat pie. Walking stone tight

Kensington streets, the type down which
light falls into softly as carriages clack
over cobblestones, Beatrix stopped for a husk

of purple carrots & parsley. Waffle tracks from a pair
of runners tread through cherry cola congealing
on tiles of a world where Peter Rabbit was caught

eating radishes, lost a shoe among the lettuces
& felt a hot flash of guilt when Farmer McGregor
pitchforked his soft slow blue-jacketed body. The man

entered with a drawn pistol & stuck it between his teeth.



Hope gives way to high fashion. In the woods of the land
before land there was rhythm, which is what’s escaping
the center of a construction site, smell from the tongue
of still wet Timberlands, khaki colored work boots. Stink
from the bologna sandwich in a baggie beside the baggie
of peach cobbler, plastic wrapped green bean casserole
on the lunch break of a beam – steel girder workbench
four stories up. The foreman says to two temp cement
layers, Schrödinger’s quantum, boxed-up cat smells
at best like a cat, but it could be worse. Timberlands
tracking mud, Timberlands on the mat shaped like a Redskin
helmet on the porch of ranch house outside Bethesda, where
on the radio Timbaland claims he ain’t got no Red American
Express. Can’t buy nothing with treble, can’t trade
bologna for filet, can’t imagine a world outside it’s box
of kitty litter, doorknobs, assorted keys. Dripping at the gate,
Timberlands forced into one of two states: stay here, dangling
from the high beat beam, licking cobbler from your fingers, or drop.


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