about the author

John Paul Davis is a poet, musician, and web developer living in New York, NY. His poems have appeared in Four Way Review, RATTLE, Word Riot, MUZZLE, and others. You can find out more about him at johnpauldavis.org.

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John Paul Davis

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Her birthday. Her full name, backward
as if it were part of a spell
cast to undo it all. Her middle name
plus the date you met. The year
she was born. The make
of her car, the one she left in the mall
parking lot after she’d stopped
making the payments. The color
of her eyes when she was angry
plus the number of ways she knew
to work your body into an incredible
heat. A statement, that you love
her. Another, that time is not linear.
The name of the town
in which you met plus the time
at which you first entered her. What she said
loudly, voice wet as a prayer with surprise
when you did. What she’d call
you when she was mad plus the average
length of her silent treatment, in days.
The number of times she hit
you multiplied by the number of police
who arrived the second time
you called them. The name of the street
you ran down the previous night, your wolf
face ringing in the snowstorm
plus how many minutes it took for you realize
you were barefoot & couldn’t feel
the ground, as if you were weightless
as if you’d been racing
the avenues of heaven
looking for a way, any way out.

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