Joshua Davis | Reversal Spells in Blue and Black

Reversal Spells in Blue and Black. Poems by Joshua Davis, selected by Ron Mohring as Number One in Volume Ten of our Summer Kitchen Chapbook Series.

Release date:  August 9, 2022 [49 copies]
21 pages
$9.00 S O L D O U T

Cover: vintage book fabric, ca. 1970. 

A former John and Renee Grisham fellow, Joshua Davis holds an MFA from the University of Mississippi, an MFA from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine, and an MA from Pittsburg State University. He is the coauthor, with Allison Blevins, of Chorus for the Kill (Seven Kitchens Press, 2022). Recent poems have appeared in The Poetry Distillery, The Museum of Americana, and The Midwest Quarterly. He is a doctoral candidate in American Literature at Ohio University, and he lives near Tampa.

The Patchwork Horses

After the crack in the rock, after the icy stairs,
after the shelves full of books leading lost-ways,
I find you, half child, half fire. I try to talk,

but you look at your feet. Then you look up,
willows crowding us, their rainy sway
the sway of drowned women.

On the hill, three patchwork horses graze,
two mares and a stallion. I remember that time,
in a storm, when I put my tongue on the swing’s chain.

I taste that taste again. I peer at the mare’s
stitched belly, the twice-darned stallion ears.
You hold out your hand, flame-blue and faint.

This is where you want to rest.
You need my help. (You always did.)
So I set to work, my knees heaped with scraps—

burlap sewn to the broadcloth,
red squares to the paisley, for the withers,
for the forelock, the muzzle and barrel.

The horses on the hill won’t linger.
The needle is sharp and faster than I am,
thread looping forward and back, forward and back.

Once I’ve built you this body, stand on the hill
and graze with your fellows. Stare through the hours
already thickening between us. Forget me.

[ Our thanks to Monster Verse: Poems Human and Inhuman for first publishing this poem.]

  • Limited edition: only 24 copies are available.
  • update: This chapbook has sold out. Thank you for supporting this poet!