Davis’ slim debut collection contains a range of forms—haiku, lyrics, short stories, and memoir.
An author’s note calls this work “an array of glimpses,” and the friends, family, and pets that appear in these pages offer fragments of a full life. Photographs serve to illustrate the poems—a family dog, a family member, a landscape. The personal moments preserved in this book will ensure that it becomes a cherished family archive, but the lack of sustained attention to a particular theme or genre means that it will have less appeal for a general audience. The modest poems don’t reach for insight or prophecy, but they do treat everyday observations with care. Experimentation informs some content, as in the opening series of lettered haiku. After the “I.” poem about imagining (as well as unicorns, Dr. Seuss, and world peace), the “J.” poem, “What Next,” laughs at the folly of the aging self: “I dive in the pool / To retrieve phone and hair piece / Loose shorts fly away.” Such lighthearted play with syllable counts turns more serious in the second major entry, a personal piece of prose titled “Fatherless”: “Another Father’s Day went by yesterday and I’m feeling more fatherless than ever.” Relevant biographical information soon follows: “I am sad and feel kind of empty when I reflect how your life was cancelled by the rest of the family whenever I asked about you. Just because you left, you became a non-person.” Perhaps it takes until adulthood to mourn a “non-person,” especially one whose story has been withheld, as this missive pulses with deep sadness at the father’s long absence. Exploring imagery beyond the formal boundaries of haiku, the author indulges in sensuous fantasy in “One Last Dance”: “A single nymph revolves slowly around a spire. / A lush rainbow of silk / faithfully follows each move / of the soft, marble body.” The dissolution of images, however, makes for the best lines, as it allows a human vulnerability to emerge: “Night falls and beckons the final performance. / My fantasy of Eden dissolves, / save for a tatter of shimmering silk wrapped around my sagging shoulders.”
This book’s mix of personal text and well-chosen photos will make it a treasure for the author’s family.