William Virgil Davis has published three books of poetry: One Way to Reconstruct the Scene, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize; The Dark Hours, which won the Calliope Press Chapbook Prize; and Winter Light. He has published poems in Poetry, The Nation, The Hudson Review, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, The New Criterion, The Sewanee Review, The Atlantic Monthly, and Weber Studies, among others. He has also published half a dozen books of literary criticism, as well as scores of critical essays. He is Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence at Baylor University. Read other poetry by William Virgil Davis published in Weber.
They are dead. I sit and stare at them.
We take and keep our pictures safe,
in dusty bins or boxes, then find
them again by accident when we
were looking for something else.
We try to remember who all these
people, all these places, areó
and who we were when we were taken so.
After the angry afternoon, black fists of cloud
and air held like hush, the sky turned
purple and pink, then settled on blue.
The cat cries and roams from room to room.
The clocks tick time. No one speaks a word.
It isnít a question of ends or beginnings:
This day has been as unaccountable as any
in memory, a day to survive and forget,
like wet weather in a wet place.
The days, the years, even decades disappear.
The sharp sunlight cuts through a book-lined room.
A man is sitting in the room, alone. A cup of coffee
and an opened, overturned book are on the desk
before him. A cat is asleep in the near corner.
The man is resting his head on one hand.
With the other he is writing on a piece of paper.
Every now and then he looks away abstractedly.
He does not seem to see anything. Then he begins
writing again. It is easy enough to think he is
thinking about the future, blending it into the past,
trying to make some sense of a span of time,
without realizing how, when he has finished,
when he takes up the pages to read through them,
how old he will have become since he sat down
and put on paper the words that are his life.