Yet Again

by Chris Davidson

I apologize. I will do it again, both what 

I apologized for, and apologize. 

 

A door hinge falling out because of a screw 

that’s stripped the wood it’s in must be fixed,

 

if you want to keep that door in the jamb. 

A table leg a skosh short making the table

 

wobble needs attention becoming action.

A loose plug in the jack of the amp is tightened.

 

A broken mug: Glue it together or throw it away.

I don’t want to throw it away. I want it fixed.

 

I bought it in New York, when I was away

from those I apologize to most, those to whom 

 

I owe the most apologies even when I don’t

say I’m sorry, and I don’t say I’m sorry 

 

for everything. The mug was an apology, 

in the other sense: a defense of a way of life,

 

a faith, a theology lived in repeated practice.

Like the coffee you fill it with each new day.

Solstice, & the Great Conversion

by Chris Davidson

Shortest day of the year, and I feel nothing of 

any turn in things toward a new and better way. 

Two planets came close to each other in the sky

beyond the streetlight before our house, 

so much light pollution, but still I saw them, 

my wife saw them, my son saw them: 

Saturn, with its rings, like a white insect in flight,

and Jupiter, larger with three of its moons

in view. The rings and the moons looked 

arranged in the same direction, held together, 

thrown out of shape by gravity. 

 

There’s a pagan ritual people did tonight, 

somewhere, formally. They do it every year. 

As for me, I drank wine, bourbon, walked the dog 

and watched a movie: nightly pagan ritual. 

I am beseeching the gods for time, to help manage 

the time, my body thrown out of shape by gravity. 

My wife said the planets kept leaving the eyepiece.

To find them again, you move the arm around,

the cheap, shaking telescope blurring them before 

settling them back into impossible brightness,

like a coin coming to rest after spinning like a top,

like a man falling asleep after a troubled day.

Ben Franklin, Vegetarian

by Chris Davidson

His boat lay becalmed off Block Island.

The crew caught and cooked some cod.

 

The scent of its singed flesh pulled his mind

Toward the man he used to be:

 

He used to eat meat. Applying his mind 

To what he saw minutes before—on the deck, 

 

Inert before the knife, the caught fish cut

To reveal inside smaller fish the fish

 

Themselves had eaten—he reasoned that

These creatures, who regard their own 

 

As suitable food, may thereby be regarded by men

As suitable food.  He dined “most heartily”

 

Upon their singed flesh, grateful for Reason,

The fortune of it, the fortune of good weather 

 

Unmentioned, the boat upon which he dined

Becalmed, Block Island just yonder. 

Guides

by Chris Davidson

             Tétouan, October 2022

 

The last portion of lentil soup 

in the tiny restaurant I would not 

 

have tasted if not guided by a local—

a ten-year local, a transplant 

 

himself from elsewhere—who has 

learned the history of the marketplace that 

 

under its tall, white arch is crowded 

with flowers, red roses in

 

bouquets and buckets, sign to me that within 

wasn’t food but flowers, lots 

 

of them. Entering the narrow street to 

where I sleep each night 

 

you cross under a similar, smaller 

arched opening, where men sell 

 

scant wares on folding tables, 

cigarettes by the smoke, packages of cookies. 

 

I’d have missed that, too, thinking

the opening another storefront, 

 

small marketplace, but for my guide 

the night of my arrival. He helped me 

 

see what without him would have 

stayed hidden. I’ve had guides 

 

from the beginning. One in particular, 

not involved at the beginning as much 

 

as he might have been, is now gone 

from this world, my father. 

 

Near the the end it was me, among others, 

leading him to a gate I could not 

Davidson mirror.jpg

Chris Davidson's poetry has appeared in Zyzzyva, Mockingbird, Cultural Weekly, Ekstasis, Zocalo Public Square, Alaska Quarterly Review, and many other publications, including the anthologies Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poems from the Community of Writers and Orange County: A Literary Field Guide. His chapbooks include Easy Meal (2020, Californios Press) and Poems (2012, Canvas Shop Press). He lives in Long Beach.