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Carol V. Davis

CarolDavisCarol V. Davis is the author of Because I Cannot Leave This Body (Truman State Univ. Press, 2017), Between Storms (TSUP, 2012) and won the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize for Into the Arms of Pushkin: Poems of St. Petersburg. Her work has been read on Radio Russia, National Public Radio and at the Library of Congress. Twice a Fulbright scholar in Russia, she teaches at Santa Monica College and Antioch Univ. Los Angeles and winter 2018 taught in Siberia.



For days I think of waves:
bolts of heavy velvet in the fabric store’s dusty backroom
where my father hunted for muslin to sew into the curtains
and bedspreads of my childhood, saving money
to pay for the house he built of felled redwoods

This week the Pacific throws 25-footers against the moorings of
Malibu Pier until they succumb to the battering

A surfer (ignoring warnings) drowns

Driven by my mother over the Bay Bridge, I pictured steel pylons
folding Origami-style, cars cascading like Tinker toys on a ramp

Engineers knew the challenges of building this bridge:
high winds, inaccessible bedrock, an eight-mile span
Politicians were dubious until Herbert Hoover threw his support

After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, repair crews affixed
an 18-inch troll secretly to the Bay Bridge, afraid their hard work would not be enough

A new troll now guards the eastern span of the bridge, wielding
an ironworker’s mallet and torch, he waits for the next rumble or waves to rise up
and swallow us all

Occupying the Body

Moving into someone else’s house is like occupying the body.
You recognize it as human but the clothes don’t quite fit.
The voice leaking from your throat croaks with words
you would never use.

This rust colored kitchen has horizontal windows
slightly larger than the slits in castle walls.
More like the eyebrows of metal filings we’d slash with a magic
wand onto Wooly Willy, that cartoon face from our childhoods.

You can tell this is not earthquake country.
Plates and bowls stack on an open shelf; various-sized glasses
huddle on a wire rack nudging one another;
school children bunched for a class photo.

I wander room to room, feeling for light switches.
Investigating this new body to see if I am just a squatter,
a dybbuk forcing her way in, waiting to fly out when the time is right.

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