Wednesday, June 15, 2016

DC Poets: Teri Ellen Cross Davis

Ode to Now ‘n’ Laters

Tucked under her pillowcase
heaven is a roller-filled roll away.
The night cut by the sound
of unwrapping candy -silence
before each saturated fold
is peeled away, revealing
apple, banana, pineapple, or sweet, tart cherry.

Always now, now, now, never later
as the moon winks in slick approval
from an otherwise cold adult sky. But here
yields glory exploding on her tongue,
juice filling her mouth
so much so, she smacks her lips,
breaking the night’s polite rules.

In this dank cave she calls a mouth,
every taste bud is hollering hallelujah,
called to witness how the essence of a thing
only softens when stretched and sucked so hard
the mouth’s roof pays in tender.

And in the mouth’s wet joy, all parties
become malleable, teased apart with teeth,
cajoled to reunion by a happy tongue.
Candy shares its secrets now, how
much sugar, corn syrup, artificial flavors
and dyes, until she arrives at its heart,
its ephemeral moment, when a thing is
the most it will ever be and no more.

This is the pulse of the god of pleasure -
seduction and destruction in one last
brutally beautiful swallow. And all the mouth is
wondering is when will it happen again?
So who can blame her? Once awakened
all she does is eat another (now)
and another (now) until she falls back asleep
and satisfaction is the enamel’s slow erosion.

From Haint Copyright 2016 by Teri Ellen Cross Davis. Printed by permission of Gival Press.

 Teri Ellen Cross Davis has attended Cave Canem, the Soul Mountain Writer’s Retreat, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her work can be read in Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade, Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC, and the journals Gargoyle, Natural Bridge, North American Review, and Poet Lore. Her first collection, Haint, is published by Gival Press. For more about Teri, visit

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