The 2River View 23.3 (Spring 2019)

Lauren Davis

Father Fills the Tanks with Bleach

I will be so clean living in our one large room
above the skeleton wood. A gutted excavation
where air tongues naked beams beneath.

And here, the water did not reach.
We stretch into dishonest dreams,
the breeze retaining the cuff of disease.

Behind curtains strung from the ceiling,
brother and I learn a new dark.
Mother tosses in her makeshift marriage bed.

And in the morning, I bath in water unfit for touch.
Baptized in tarnish, washed in Tar River’s ruts,
I greet the day with skin reeking of stain.

I climb down stripped stairs
into the gutted womb of our blessed home.

Floyd Spreads Famine on His Black Horse

I looked, and behold, a black horseā€¦.
Revelation 6:5

He flashes his scale, my village besieged. I prayed
one hundred and twelve prayers, but Floyd breaks
the bed where I first met Christ.

The minister homes my family. I rest beneath
his daughter’s sheets. She sings hymns
in the morning, hymns at night.

Floyd, allow me to fatten your stallion
with all my sin. Do not harm my oil and wine.
In her chamber, my shadow I leave behind.

Lauren Davis is the author of Each Wild Thing’s Consent (Poetry Wolf Press). She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and her poetry can be found in Prairie Schooner, Lunch Ticket, and Spillway. website

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