This Life Not Yet Saved

—for L

By Geffrey Davis

Issue 113, Summer 2021

June 01, 2021

Photo by Natalia Sobolivska via Unsplash

 

dearly beloved:—

no ode to elegy but some other way

to summon the dark irreverence

in our hands & breath

   

for (listen) who dies next

though

I admit

I tend to claim

   

only the sorry facts

the losses

we mostly survived

the many bitternesses

 

 

that didn’t sever how we continue

to cleave

our days together

first the early months of

 

 

learning how to fit

love in the mouth

with a history of grief still living

behind our teeth

 

 

then a static note where the fetal heart

. . . .

should have flickered

then your cancer

 

 

cut free & cured

like the river of my youth

. . . .

which could’ve but didn’t take you

 

 

for the unknowable bottom of death

so bless every ragged thing

returning our togetherness

our comfort reshaping around

 

 

what I weep to call a miracle

each new gravity of light

quietly flooding the shared rooms

I know I know      goddamn time

 

 

pulling us toward different endings

no one knows       & I don’t want

to learn

any beautiful bewilderment left

 

 

in the wonder

of your wake & I don’t want

to rename the unbidden slow-dance of

my own impending nothingness

    lingering 

 

 

 

waiting to join another nothingness &

I don’t want you alone either with

whatever sound follows

the tearing of an almost

 

 

fabric-like absurdity

we’ve spent years

wild

with faith

 

 

weaving into home—the terrible belief of

resting & rising inside tomorrow

undivided             what future shudder

did we dream for one another

 

 

my god    I need it to matter then

how we’ve spent the darkness

of so many evenings

swaying to 

 

 

the temporary music made by

a hurt-close living—smiling & turning   

nearly the entire night sometimes

fixed

according to the purest
little unbroken circles of joy

the doom of our loaded arms can sing

Geffrey Davis

Geffrey Davis is the author of Night Angler and Revising the Storm (BOA Editions). A recipient of fellowships from Bread Loaf, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts, he’s published work in New England Review, the New Yorker, and Ploughshares. Davis teaches at the University of Arkansas and the Rainier Writing Workshop.