I live between the road
and the echo of something
I don’t know, maybe night
lifting its pine needles
speaking for the first time,
maybe the stars trying on
an overcoat—something that isn’t
black, maybe green leaves rattling
like coins in a beggar’s cup.

I live between the ballad
of what I imagine the perfect life
to be—harmonies in tune, chorus
and bridge foresting joy,
while the real ballad bumps along
slightly hoarse, forgets a few words
like the words I wish I had said
before my father died
as if words could complete a life
perfect as a bow tie.

I live between words that think
they can write their own poems
and words that lie down flat
on yoga mats waiting to stretch
their muscles and joints, breathing in,
finding their syllables
between vowels and consonants.
Some days I stretch, break open
my body, feel the rain fill up the grass,
feel the grass fill up the rain.

John Davis is a polio survivor and the author of Gigs and The Reservist. His work has appeared recently in DMQ Review, Iron Horse Literary Review and Terrain.org. He lives on an island in the Salish Sea.