Two Poems by Jim Davis

Stargazer

Those who’ve been out in the yard for the sole
purpose of looking at stars will be rewarded

by smells of jungle, oatmeal, baking chocolate
and the not-supposed-to-be-good-but-is aroma

of a distant skunk. Water cascading
over anything is as much abstraction as it is

the whetting lens of life. Loamy soil
for the stargazer lily, aimed up. Shallow water

for the stargazer fish, whose eyes sit atop its head.
Celestialists abandon dogmatic orthodoxy.

Galileo organized the regulation of clocks
by looking up at swinging lamps / demolished Aristotle

by finding mountains on the moon. There was once
a boy selling bread in the summer of 1609,

hard crusts to men in soft shoes, sold one to
he who ripped us from the womb that was the center

of existence. No longer. He pines for the imperfect
spheres from between prison bars. Horticulturists

say stargazers, oddly enough, do best in full sun.
Stargazer fish are inedible. Galileo ate hard

crusts of enquiry, patient as a speck in the celestial abyss.
 
 
Altogether Howling

All this talk of a moon’s ability
to swallow shadow, or create it
has given the wolves living above
the Hishikar Indian/Nepalese Restaurant
reason to shout. What a funny thing it is

to hear a wolf scream
from the awning, gray and green, strip
mall takeout stop. Porcelain
clown, sad eyes painted
sideways, has seen it

from the well of the pawnshop
window beside. Waif dog
curled in the lap of a trust fund
beggar playing scat on a mahogany
Ohana ukulele. When they scream

the dog’s ears perk, franticly scratching
infection. The moon said it’ll disappear
when the sugar’s gone. The clown nodded.
The ukulele player drank chartreuse
from a Listerine bottle, ate crumb

cake baked from scratch. Fresh and full
throated, the wolves began to shout
at the moon taking credit for everything
before slinking down the fire escape
to eat the momo dipped in yellow sesame

and red garlic chili sauce
from the dumpster. Only when
all the sad things happened
at once did the moon
and its inhabitants

begin finally to behave as themselves.
 
 
Jim Davis is an MFA candidate at Northwestern University. His work has appeared in Wisconsin Review, Seneca Review, Adirondack Review, Midwest Quarterly, and Contemporary American Voices, among many others. Jim lives, writes, and paints in Chicago, where he reads for TriQuarterly and edits North Chicago Review.