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Jim Davis

The Aspect of Practice Characterized by Continuous Restraint

Aeneas, It's Time to Go

After Galileo Looked Up Heaven's Skirt

The Aspect of Practice Characterized by Continuous Restraint

I & the tree I am under shudder as the book
I bought reminds us both to breathe. I am

relearning the language you took from me
on the cushions of the old couch, singing

strange old songs like Home on the Range
roving over the mutilated usage of roses

& rhyme. Streets shudder as I walk them
& waiters turn tables at sidewalk cafés.

This morning the old neighborhood hushed.
In the braided new language I worshiped  

like Romans in robes & burnouses, gathering
leaves in a forest where deer & antelope play

dead. I’ll never settle. No light in the distance
where under shuddering trees, the full lions rest.

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Aeneas, It's Time to Go

Idling outside the hotel, I made songs out of talk
radio. Behind the balcony, Aeneas steadied himself 

by musing on Venus, wearily braiding his war-
beaten beard. Last night we drank to Troy

& his new condo. Troy’s wife was unhappy –
they were trying to have a baby. Aeneas

opened a minibar soda, turned the pale wand
of blackening blinds, surrounded by the heavy

stink of a body’s labor. Praise doled out to those
twice divinely saved. I rolled down the window

to spit as I smoked, changed the station. There is
no place to park today, so sweet & boring.

He melted back into bed, recited her lines again
& again, by god, by then he’d gone mad.


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After Galileo Looked Up Heaven's Skirt

Old men scoffed, wiped their greasy mouths
& threw bones to the hounds. The privileged

are busy inventing histories. Alchemists
under the Alabama circus tents sport rattle-

snake scars along tanned arms like roadmaps
from Pisa to Birmingham. Sin sucked out

through the puncture. Stars, consider that
if one thousand monkeys spilled one thousand

salt shakers, they’d create only a partial image
of our galaxy. Someday your way home & mine

will be the same. We’ll be the sound between
tendons in the wrist of the poem, turning over

to read an astral fortune. You will gently hold
the reins to my future & say sing it again. I will.

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Jim Davis is an international semi-professional American football player. He’s a graduate of Harvard University, Northwestern University, and Knox College. He reads for TriQuarterly and his work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Harpur Palate, The Harvard Crimson, Portland Review, RHINO, Midwest Quarterly, and California Journal of Poetics, among others. He has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations and won many contests, including the Line Zero Poetry Prize and 2nd place at the Midwest Hot Dog Eating Super-Sectional. @JimDavisArt

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