Mankindness by Christina Davis

Because he, because she,
in so far as
she (in so far as he) exists
is on the way
to battle.
Not what is your name,
but what
the battle?
“Each one of us has come
here and changed” —
is the battle. Born
a loved one,
borne a loved one.
My father fought in this war, thus I can speak of it.
My mother fought in this, thus I can speak.
My friends, my lovers have fought, have worn
(like the tree) their several directions at once. And I,
in so far as I
               can say “I”
have fought to be related to these —
we strive and strain
but also try to ripen the entity
of the Other.
We kiss on lips, where the tenses attach.
We enter the conundrum
of another’s becoming.
We look for someone who can raise us
up again to feet, or near to standing.
We tend in our terrors to forget (we
do not store them) felicities.
I try each day to stay near beings,
mornings when I am most
mild. And may I nothing harm,
in case it is them.

Advertisement for the Mountain by Christina Davis

Advertisement for the Mountain

Christina Davis

There are two versions of every life.

In the first one, you get a mother, a father,
your very own room,
a dandelion’s-worth of chances.

You learn to walk, which is only done by walking.
You learn the past tense of have, which is hunger.

You learn to ask almost anything
is to ask it to be over,
as when the lover asks the other

“Are you sleeping?  Are you beginning
to go away?”

(And whether or not you learn it, life does not penetrate
more than five miles above the earth
or reach more than three miles beneath the sea.

Life is eight miles long.

You could walk it, and be there before sundown.
Or swim it, or fall it, or crawl it.)

The second is told from the point
of view of the sky.

The Sadness of the Lingua Franca by Christina Davis

The Sadness of the Lingua Franca

In Bird, I speak brokenly. Hiss and flail and never learn.

And the swan will never mouth

the noun for bread,

the declensions of crumb. Though i could stop

its migration with a crumb.

After English, we never do get to be strangers again.

The language is famous and followed,

it has no loneliness left.

It has made it to the moon. It has got god

to speak it. It will get

to everything first, if it can.

But not the swan, pale as a page

I will never have written.