Scratched Retina: Memento Mori

by Chad Davidson

Dear coffee grounds, ground pepper, memorial crumbs
floor-fallen and pinned there. Dear last night’s
doors to heavier sleep through which each eye
feared its twin should wander. Dear wandering
dust in the eye liver-shaped like the shy Brancusi
bust stumbled onto on the internet last night:
forgive this foolish English cottage-style dotage
alive with flies and doorway formicology.
Little fears come in tracks of black ants, brittle
to the touch, skating on the surface of the open eye.
Every eye loves just one lash. And that lash will fall
gravely and unseen like a drachma next to the pound.
Dear dull Drachma: if you died as well, hexed
the very eye you meant to cover well sunken,
would you garner such graven respectability?
Shrill imitator of the crow, in the photo I have, you lie,
still, as in death. Or you are teaching the dead to rest.

Chad Davidson is an assistant professor of English at the State University of West Georgia. His poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, DoubleTake, Epoch, The Paris Review, Pequod, Poet Lore, and numerous other publications. Southern Illinois Press published his first book, Consolation Miracle in 2003.

Poem from Consolation Miracle ©2004 Chad Davidson, reprinted by permission of the author