In a Russian Watchpost
No pane in the window where she bathes
her child in a washtub surrounded
by candles after mending the torn elbow
of her husband’s coat. The charred forest
lynx is growing mushrooms & moss.
Storming artillery shears the banner of stars.
Crags shadow & juniper claps alight.
Snow rabbits rut & shudder, run away.
Mishka & all the spiders hide in the shade
of night turning day as I pull the rope
ladder up behind me. I pull the collar
to my chin. A boy limps over the steppe
to throw a spoon at a hive of bees &
somewhere in the brush, the mute swan sleeps.
He counts fingers in the dark. Inflated
stars feed on distant planets as two cats
paw guts in an alley, picking little
anchovies from discarded pizza as bad
boys write on walls & dot their eyes
with booze. On the corner there are
homeless twin sisters, one has a baby
carriage & a thyroid issue. The moon
grins as a passenger train slowly rolls
to stop & folks descend with little picnic
baskets, gape in awe of Siberian Purrs,
Cloud Gobblers & Mammoth Mortars.
The moon grits its teeth in the smoke.
The moon is law. The moon is afraid
of the boy who stole a Bic from his dad
running down the alley to blow up the rats.
JIM DAVIS is a student of Human Development and Psychology at Harvard University and has previously studied at Northwestern University and Knox College. He reads for TriQuarterly and his work has appeared in Seneca Review, The Portland Review, Midwest Quarterly, and California Journal of Poetics, among others. He has received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations and won many contests, including the Line Zero Poetry Prize. In addition to writing and painting, Jim is an international semi-professional American football player. @JimDavisArt