Two Poems


Lauren Davis

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.

 

 About the Writer
Split Lip Press

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.