John Davis

Self, remember the slender arm of the violinist
bowing across the strings and the sound warm  
as a chrysanthemum opening. 
You are the flower, the strings, the arm
            not on guard duty, checking license plates
            checking ID. Trucks grind gears
            past the Main Gate. A siren howls
            like an urban hyena. A door slams. 
Under the stagelights the hair on her arm  
glistens like a silver meadow
while the cellist and flautist retrieve
the vowels and constellations of earth and sky. 
            Decker’s drunk again, stumbles from the EM club, 
            says it’s flashbacks from the Mekong. 
            I push him back to the barracks. He curses,  
            spits, crunches gravel along the walkway. 
Around and under you is silence
among the rhythms and plush cushions
of the concert hall, among the promises
made of sound, fingers like fire shadowing notes. 
            A bell clanks-in customers across the street
            at the sub shop. Chunks of cheese line the window. 
            The owner sucks on pickles, pounds down meatballs, 
            slaps mayonnaise on foot-long sandwiches for a Coastie.  
The moon is rising over the Gate, scaling the wall
like a commando, the air strangely cinnamon. 
You are humming last night’s melody and holding
her narrow elbow, ushering the night. 

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.