Back to Issue Forty-Seven



Geo says that on the way to church, where he was Jesus

in a play about the resurrection, the cops thought he was using the beard

as a disguise and told him to get the fuck down now. There is a plastic-

flower wreath at the one intersection in town, where an off-duty

ambulance once sped through a red light and killed a man

on his bike riding home. After washing my hands at school, flicking

the water off because there are no paper towels, I’m told that a girl had

hanged herself in there, that her parents wanted her to be a doctor,

and in her letter to them she mentioned a paralyzing fear of blood. The news reports

of a glitch in GPS software that led one person off a cliff, and on the way down

Siri was saying, proceed to the route. A nurse was asking us to describe safety.

That morning, mom brought a binder of my Calculus notes, but the doctors

wouldn’t allow it because the prongs were too sharp. Tell me about safety,

the nurse asks. Say what soothes you. List five people you can call.

Write your exit plan — and another teen with visible scars

uses his green crayon to draw a spiral directly onto the table.





In this room, the present
tense is a choice, so

Sara and I (friends) drink
margs on the boardwalk

and gossip about that girl
who named her baby Clive.

My grandmother (living) kills
a crossword puzzle on the couch

and in 23 Down etches my name
into four blank boxes. I am hiding in the bathroom

watching Tik-Toks about attachment,
and my Love (my love) FaceTimes his family

across two oceans. The present tense is a choice
in this room, so here Ben (sober, alive)

cups his hand around his girlfriend,
and laughs as Kit teaches me the word

for Left in Thai. Lelah (still talks to me)
talks to me on a bench in snowy Greenpoint

and through the center of a donut
I take her picture.

In this room, where truth is a choice
I don’t take, where loss can speak,

animate, and dance,
like the poorly designed robots

at Chuck E Cheese’s, we are all at my
30th birthday. Men in jockstraps serve mushroom

caps laced with psilocybin
and as the walls melt, we say

death is an illusion, and that we’ll never
leave each other (ever). On the comedown,

we all (together) eat mediocre cake, and we all
(together) sing a bad Sondheim cover.

I’m wearing a black evening gown
and pearls, and still little high,

I kiss every one of you. I’ve missed you.
Muah, goodnight. Love ya, g’night.

Jack Davis is a writer, teacher, and poet. He is the recipient of teaching and writing fellowships through Princeton University and most recently a Fulbright Scholarship. In 2020 he was recognized by the United Nations for his poetry installation “Sauti,” which featured poems from over twenty countries and seven languages. His work is published in Alien Magazine, Pinhole Poetry, Speakeasy Magazine and forthcoming in Foothills Journal. He’s been nominated for Best of the Net and The Pushcart Prize and was the winner of the Robert House Memorial Prize in Poetry. He is an MFA Candidate at New York University, where he teaches undergraduate fiction and poetry workshops. He lives in New York City and is very allergic to cats, but pets them anyway.

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