He sits on his throne of clouds, bare breasted, heart so closed behind calloused skin and curled hair that it seems his chest never rises;
but perhaps it is that he sits so far above us that he holds lightning in his eyes and thunder in his throat and no longer needs to breathe.
So we can only kneel, as he beats his skull against pillars of thought, holds the stem of his moon-morphed goblet in a clenched fist, looks down at the regrets he has spilled, swans he has split in two, and cows he has turned out to graze,
lets his wife claw cracks into the cliffs of his thighs, always grasping onto what was hers, lets her tears run them clean until he feels forgiven.
And I wonder if he thinks of his own father and how big he seemed, wonders which of us will weigh upon his stomach like a stone, which of us would take a sickle to his side.
I wonder where great men go when they hide, when the Earth and seas are no longer theirs to ride, when the stars pull the curtains closed, turn out the lights.
I imagine that one day he will look up into that black expanse and spread his palms out wide. He’ll keep stretching until he is transparent, fades into the corners of our rooms. He’ll wait there with his father and his father’s father and more.
We will feel them watching behind closed lids. We will bring fire to the Earth to try to blind them, but we’ll always know what sits inside our heads.
To My Mother Always Searching
Stories have been laced into the sky,
gauze stars pulled closer. They form
a cozy, a kerchief, a comforter,
and with each build we remember
something new—The way your fingers
shape a peace-sign, barely spread,
to hold the hand-rolled cigarette,
sparking with a cherry sun-flare,
the smoke floating through empty
space between our breaths—The way
your cheek rests on my splintered
hair, blowing nicotine into strands
that stick to my sweaty forehead
while you wrap your arms
around my waist, draw me in
to your gravitational pull, ignoring
the cough that sends tremors
through my lungs, bends my back
like comets impacting my sternum—
The way your chin turns up
as you watch the sky turn magenta
through the hotel window,
the curve of your jaw like an asteroid
trail and I run my thumb against
your skin to feel the bone
and think, I could follow you
straight to the moon.
Mikayla Davis is a MFA candidate from the University of Central Arkansas, where she currently teaches Introduction to Creative Writing. She has a BA in English from Eastern Washington University and has poems published in Railtown Almanac, The Wire Harp, CandleLit, Gold Dust, and others.
Featured image by Alexander Popovov