John Davis Jr.
The Shot End
Not quite right: that green garden hose
his hardened hands carefully coiled
into place, there by the barn
when workdays ran out of steam.
Slicker models rolled downtown
in hardware stores boasted
brass fittings on both ends.
Not his: Joined solely at spigot,
and like an adopted stray cat,
had its far end chopped off―
giving the poor thing just length
to water a back flowerbed
or show all the kids how
a real farmer takes a drink.
As older grandchildren, they'd learn:
There was only so much
a single-jointed hose could do,
yet on his land, his time,
it did so irreplaceably.
Where Our Tunnels Went
We liked to glamorize
those two metal culverts
supporting the road into town
as “tunnels” replete with treasure:
buried pirates’ gold and reptiles.
We ventured into those holes
closest home almost daily,
swapping off routes and dirt
like so many battered favorite
toys used and loved by us both.
Returning from a day’s plunder,
we had to compare to brag―
bottle caps to squirrel skulls,
pebbles to marbles,
buccaneer booty for certain.
One day, we just reached the end:
we found the city waiting
with vehicles, jobs, and girlfriends
sucking us out of separate,
mutual, childhood adventures.
Yet I never drive over
abridged road portions without
wondering: what boys could be
swapping tales underneath
while my car passes above.
Upon My Son’s Naptime
I contemplate my greatest uncle,
whose speed bump knuckles dug trenches
in Nazi landscape, foreheads, and faces
throughout the era of World War II.
An 82nd Airborne Ranger, holding
a knife was one of the tricks he used
to stay alert while standing guard―its metal
clang, if dropped, would keep him awake.
Bearing his name, you fight against sleep,
clutching my finger like government-issued
security: your digits and palm grasp hard
that first joint, not quite the hilt of my hand.
I know you’ve arrived at your dreams when,
with a sigh, you allow the release
of my unscarred, academic appendage,
exchanging it for your own closed fist.
-all poems previously published at Frigg Magazine