Katherine Davis, Two Poems

Wild Goose Poetry Review, No 33, Fall 2017


ABSOLUTE PERMISSION

As a girl, I read stories about dolls.
They wore dresses with pockets,
Lost and found dogs, learned watercolors,
Wrote in cursive on chalkboards.
They fell down roller skating and cried,
But applied themselves to do it in time
For the visit from grandma and grandpa.
A good life, say? I wanted so much
To start a lemonade stand. It tasted
Horrid. Trying out, I couldn’t kick a goal.
My elder sister spoke French, baked gateaux;
My younger, talked to stuffed animals.
I too was talented: arias of sobs and snuffles.
I became terrific in being miserable.

Now grownup, I’ve opened the window.
The snow is smooth, before tracks or gravel.
Face powder for an actor, playing queen.
I study pages, seeing cream and chocolate.
Lemon juice into tap water is a quencher
I craft not for market but for me.
I walk on a Tibetan rug, styling muscle.
Are there auspicious signs or symbols
To step on or avoid? Absolute permission
To wander off? I shall try being a woman
Without damage. Like the baby doll
I protected whose name was Tender.
Even Elvis loved her. When I found the baby
In my basement, her curls were wild.

 


 

GARGANTUAN

The T-Rex stands amid Ceratopsians,
Big-headed dinosaurs with backward horns.
I remember them by the name of a Hollywood
Star. I think in the film I saw, he was gentle,
A sensitive metrosexual, kind to women.
He fussed with babies and walked dogs.

The dinosaur museum has a workroom,
Where scientists drill with dental tools.
They brush away 70 million years of dirt.
Helicopters lift giant slabs from location,
So experts can map sites of mass extinction.
So many bones flattened in single spaces–
The dinos rushed to watering holes
Then were trapped in drying pools.

Gar and roaches, inheritors of prehistory,
Swim and scurry in darkened tanks. We lived
With tons of roaches in North Carolina,
And after the exterminator finished, I swept
Piles of Bodies. Told the roach could outlast
Nuclear holocaust, I wondered what
I breathed. But I and they didn’t go away.
Roaches endured in our microwave
So we carried contagion to other states.
Future landlords said we were dirty,
And we were bad at withstanding shame.

Unlike roaches, the dinosaurs didn’t survive
Disasters unidentified. Humans hang
Onto the edge. I have ambitions
For adding to my resume, losing weight,
But don’t know where or when or how quick.

 


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