About the Writer
Lauren Davis is a poet living on the Olympic Peninsula, where she also works as a caretaker. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and her work is published or is forthcoming in journals such as Prairie Schooner, Spillway, Clarion, and Tipton Poetry Review.
MEN AND FIRE
Our friends build a fire on the beach again.
We eye the drunkest one. He has a habit
of throwing sand on the blaze whenever his girl
arrives from work. She’s running late. Embers grow low,
so you hunt sticks. Barely worth the calories I just lost,
you say when you return with a fistful of timber.
The beer cools at the water’s edge. Everyone goes
in and out of silence, men taking turns pissing in the shadows.
You look handsome shirtless and sunburned.
The sun sips the lip of the lake. Passers-by parade
their dogs and we all swoon, asking them to bring
their beasts close. Cigarette smoke burns my eyes,
so I wander barefoot into the brush,
pacing to avoid the anthills packed inches apart.
I come out with two armfuls of brush.
I hear you loudly telling a story of me milking a cow
at a stranger’s farm. You’re proud of me. I dump
the wood at your feet like a dead deer from the hunt.
When finally she arrives she coos at the flame. Fifteen minutes,
and her boyfriend smothers the light. Longer than last time.
At home, all night under a low lamp you check my body for ticks.
WINTER STORM ATLAS
We had planned to sleep in the car that night.
By chance my love overheard a local talk
about the incoming blizzard. Winter Storm Atlas found
us in Wyoming. We sought shelter in a chain hotel
with large king beds. The wind came first, whistling
like a happy groom. Snow came sideways against
evergreens. Trucks stopped on the side of the road,
and stayed still as threatened turtles. When the hotel
lost power, the hunters and couples stranded
with us huddled to talk, telling more and more
secrets as the landscape grew whiter. In our room,
we made love, then fought a little. The hotel left out
fruit to keep us docile. I urged him to share my orange,
the juice running down my arms and mouth. I wiped
my fingers clean on the sheets. We slept in the smell
of citrus, while outside snow gathered many feet,
creating drifts large enough for us to build a home of ice.