In the shadow of a pickup in Alabama
a man is pulling a comb
through greasy hair, tonguing a mint tic tac.
He has dreamed this house and gathered
warmth from afternoon sunshine.
The slow drum roll of leaf
against leaf jazzes up the slog
of autumn. These are the days of faith
and blunt voices, luck and fettuccini.
He edges up the sidewalk like a raj.
What he loves…what he loves—click—
the bloom of a bachelor button, the swirl
of wind through a chrysanthemum
is not what blooms and flows between
the rusty bicycle and tub of Drano:
no watery melodies through trees, only pop
cans scraping against his Iraq
War boots. He creases a footprint near
the door stoop. How long will the wild gusts
of desert sand reside within his wrist?
How many backfiring engines, bouts of desert flu
until he doesn’t jump, thinking Molotav
Cocktails and roadside bombs will blow?
Instead of dreaming that he is hacking an ax,
he is knocking on the door, waiting for eternity,
waiting for the door to open, for the gin to fizz.
John Davis is the author of Gigs and The Reservist. His work has appeared recently in DMQ Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, One and Rio Grande Review. He teaches writing, performs in rock and roll bands and lives on an island near Seattle.