In Soot

First published in
The Southern Review

When of a likened mind, the plaster Saints of Coahuila

reduce a perverse epiphany to yellowing, as when God

was sucked up into the madrigals fast. Do you drink

the Nova Scotia dusk? I’m sure there’s an appropriate word

for that in German. Bottle by bottle, I offer a dented doubloon

for your thoughts, a pitted cherry for this fishery of sin.

Out there, in that great relief of foamy green barbed wire,

a steamer ship steams and icebergs hiss amongst themselves

saying, Who will be the next to go? What can we take with us?

I say take it all, but let the Saints carry me home. Let the Saints cool

this errant radiator with a compress of tobacco leaf and tar paper.

Let them tell me that in the absence of fact, ritual is the sole redeemer

of faith. Let them minister to those of no better luck, of those too

bootblack to bleat for light, who break at dawn for a shilling’s

worth of black lung and a kettle calling them home.

Let the Saints move silent as rooks through cities stumbling

to life. Let them bless the buses that creep like penitent mastodons

past the marketplace, bless the windows dark as bituminous fists.

And then bless the sky. But for it the moon wouldn’t notice us at all.


About Adam O. Davis

Adam O. Davis is a poet, photographer, test pilot, greengrocer, gardener, thief, liar, truth-teller, bank teller, door-to-door salesman, book binder, night deposit box, logarithm, lamplighter, lobsterman, horse breaker, cat burglar, curt cartographer, carbon copy, cubist octopus, bail bondsman, bad barnstormer, paperboy, teacher, automotive technician, tearful confessor, candyman, cropduster, getaway car driver, top-seeded amateur, surfer, soothsayer, railway brakeman, lightning strike recipient, sinister signpost, unexpected sweepstakes, sentimental jukebox, endangered species, naturally-occurring arch, axeman, ashcan, ashram janitor, freelance writer/editor, speechwriter, ghostwriter, ghostbuster, concierge, cape wearer, lost shoe, lost balloon, floating away from your childhood at an exponential rate. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in several journals, including Boston Review, Grist, The Laurel Review, POOL, Sixth Finch, The Southern Review, CutBank, andThe Paris Review.
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