Pablo in the Woods
Jim Davis, Jr.

In layered pastels, through thick strokes,
Dismal wilderness is a green sea and a
Barren tree, buoyed in a grassy bay, becomes
Lighthouse of the rolling mew.

Thousands of bald, spidery boughs
Point, Point,
Identify with branch tips the familiar army of limbs
That weave a wall on the berm, lining the creek,
Piercing the ecotone pavement
Lain for voyeurs to bear
Witness to the shameful isolation
Of a lone, barren tree,
Floating in an ocean meadow.

Consider the heartless bird
Soaring over the spot,
Dropping a fertile, berried twig
Once clasped in arrow beak
As women pointed and wept,
     from the berm, lining the creek.

Below limestone eaves,
Dripping water pools in craters, eroded
By previous pools of rainwater, he shudders
As Zeus throws a tantrum.

Zeus, in his robes, kicking blocks,
Throwing bolts against playroom walls,
Flicking the switch like lightening.

And Cupid’s hand, from beneath the eave
Holds his bow with a bundle
Of mangled, distorted, black nailed fingers.
Four of them, cross hatched.
Purple, smash hammered,
Reach into a quiver to retrieve the frozen body
And arrow beak
Of a long dead bird.

He mounts the bird on a taught, lively bow
And pulls its talons to his cheek.
His slick, knotted grip
Like a river over rocks,
Like absinth over cubes of ice,
Like stark, waving bough
On a tall, lonely tree –
Stuck, in its trunk,
By a bird’s arrow beak,
Loosed by Cupid
With a little help
From the wind
Of a quelling storm.

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