Jim Davis is a graduate of Knox College and an MFA candidate at Northwestern University. Jim lives, writes, and paints in Chicago, where he reads for TriQuarterly and edits the North Chicago Review. His work has appeared in Seneca Review, Blue Mesa Review, Adroit Journal, Whitefish Review, The Café Review, and Contemporary American Voices, in addition to winning the Line Zero Poetry Contest, Eye on Life Poetry Prize, multiple Editor’s Choice awards, and a recent nomination for the Best of the Net Anthology. www.jimdavispoetry.com
Fair Season, 1993
A feather and the smell of a baseball glove after my father pounded it with oil.
An owl and the smell of funnel cake at the churchyard fair, canto carnascialesco
twisting through speakers as we passed.
Thunderclap, the sour smell of dandelion stalks, how it differed from petals, which smelled like butter by association.
Two freighters and the imprint of a fist, mine, after I pressed it in the dirt near second base.
Steady traffic, smell of sand, sting of sand, and a slide that wiped away sand drawings in violent planes.
I remember my father in a suit and tie, and the smell of a salesman.
Feral cat, the soft thud of a ball struck lamely from a tee, how the long rubber stalk warbled like a loose hose.
City lights, center stage.
City lamppost, hot silence, awful shining.
I remember frenzied yelling. This is a good thing.
They said not to ever mention sales. The industry is blinding, they’d say.
They said wash sand and sour smells from your fingertips as white rice boiled on the stove.
Someone outside themselves fumbled over rolling opportunity.
I tagged the runner with an empty glove, ball clutched tight in the hand without, and he, quickly rounding third, waved home.
Go home, they waved, with terrifying excitement – and, as outcomes tend to go, on the other end, a gut full of funnel cake and shame.