4.08 / August 2009

Judas and Jesus as Boys

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Judas, bury me in the sand.
I don’t wanna.
Come on. I’ll let you use my glass shovel.
Leave me alone already.
Don’t make me make a miracle of you.
I’m busy.
Put that dolly away and start digging.
It’s a Roman Guard with special Whip-Motion-Action.
It’s not a dolly.

You broke Pontius.
I didn’t touch it.
You didn’t have to. You broke it.
Prove it.
I hate you.
You don’t know the half of hating. Start digging.


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My mom moves to Fort Walton Beach
from Okinawa, where mamazons
made dresses for her dollies and cut down yard
snakes for soup. She brags about eating cacao-
covered ants. This is the summer a man
will break into her room and (almost)
rape her. She ignores the war (mostly).
She likes to make jewelry. Her father is an officer
in the Air Force. Her mom finds birth control
in a drawer. The pills are her sister’s,
but she will be called the whore. I hate my mother
(most) for not naming blame. If not for her
I’d never have been a poet. She’s the one who put me
in this blue dress lit on fire—
taught me to speak, not of the burning,
but about how pretty the dress is.
1970 is when I’d most liked to have known her.
She says, Florida is where I was most happy.
I say, watch Ma, how when I twirl the flames lift up.

When I was a Boy

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My mother bent a Lamborghini on a hydrant,
crossing the street in a pair of stilettos. Men
couldn’t stop looking. My bowed nose
concerned her. I cut off all my hair and lived
on the highest branch of a tree. As a tomboy
I gave her less to worry about. I out wrestled
the sixth-grade. Taught myself, no.
Was Batman, brother Robin.
We ran the neighborhood. Under-roos over
pants, terrycloth capes, shooting water-pistol
at men’s crotches. Saving mother for our
own attention. Ding-dong a Sarah-Jane Adams
Elementary boy said, pushing my ten-year-old
nipple. Opening a door. You’ll appreciate being
wanted one day
, mother said, rubbing the bump
out of the rim of my nose. What I wanted
was for her to grow in her own plot of dirt
without others spading for her roots.

The Woman Who Cut Judas Down

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had lost her son. This body strung
from a branch could be anyone—
even hers. She climbed the tree
to chew through the rope
and bring down the stopped
heart that had grown within her.

On the ground she gathered him to her—
whole self shaking as a baptism
worked its way out from in her
words beyond human articulation—
fever and a cry mistaken for pain.

Nicelle Davis's most recent collection, In the Circus of You is available from Rose Metal Press. She is the author of two other books of poetry, Becoming Judas, and Circe. Another book of poems, The Walled Wife, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. She loves PANK. nicelledavis.net
4.08 / August 2009