Carol Ann Davis
Was What Came Over You

—after Emily Dickinson


Was what came over you                           anything like this

                a cold wind on the neck                               an ocean of pigment


I ask because                     I have no real purchase                                on any of it

                I’m just beginning                           to find                 


filament-like                     the shapes of things       and their masks                                              

painful to remove           but also                                                undergirded with color                                               


I remember                       by virtue of falling                          the green

of groundswell                 as it rose under me                         though remember


is a strong word for it   and I’m cautioned                           against such use

mine happened                                                as I was reading


and all the dead                               to say I was dead             lie down                             

to say wakeful                  is a limited way                                               of putting it                                       


let’s say you were there                                               and I thought I could see you                   

let’s say                                something in you                            seemed in front of me


to pale the air                    it’s all right                                         to say such things in poems      

                at this point                       it’s almost expected                       to note the heaviness   


of one’s arms    one’s head attached                       as ball to string

perhaps this is near        what you meant                                              for I stood up   


as long by your window                                              your thoughts                                   half space themselves                   to half become                               I can’t imagine                                  but something in me                    


thinks to serve                  thinks drosophila           the socket behind the eye                           

and is quickly blessed                   not what             one means          but nearer                         


how one feels                                   supplicant’s stone                           in the hand        

and from long kneeling                                               a bruise on the knee                                      

Found In Volume 40, No. 05
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  • Carol Ann Davis
Carol Ann Davis
About the Author

Carol Ann Davis’ newest book, Atlas Hour, was published in August by Tupelo Press.  She directs the undergraduate creative writing program at the College of Charleston, where she co-edits the literary journal Crazyhorse.