This week, as our submission period has ended for the next issue of Wherewithal, I wanted to be sure you read one of my favorite poems from the first issue, so you aren’t so upset with the wait for replies.
I am happy to present John Paul Davis.
When love goes
it leaves through our feet.
It is there in the concrete,
the sand, the polymer flooring
& beneath all that as well; it continues
sinking, shouldering through soil,
granite, limestone, aquifers
& deeper. It’s heavier
than everything, most of it collected
at the planet’s melted center.
That’s why it rarely stays
in our bodies, why children
love to lie in the grass
& roll down the hillside,
why it’s so much work
keeping it above your heart,
why, in fact, some of us never
really find it at all. The stars
have almost none of it. Too much
may be lethal, else we’d have bored
our way down in mine shafts
to siphon it up. Instead it accrues
& condenses in earth’s core until a teardrop
of it could kill. You have seen
those afflicted by its heavy, purified
form; the tips of their tongues
are silver. They walk hand-in-hand
with fellow victims, brains darkening
with happiness. Or they look upward
toward a god, lips purple
from praying. Those who have known
love like this are dangerous
because they have already swallowed death
& still walk among us. The future
has made them promises. They have
no use for the free market. Their bodies
have been seared by grace. Their eyes:
avoid them. Having been broken
apart so completely, they will see
your shame, your failings. They are to be feared,
for they hold the power to banish
doubt. When the room reels
with the scent of myrrh
brace yourself for the terrible flame.
They have come to forgive you.
John Paul Davis lives in Brooklyn, where he writes poems. You can find out more about him at http://www.johnpauldavis.org