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Elise Davis Apr 2019
As a 6 year old I knew she was beautiful,
she always smelled of perfume,
fingernails painted coral,
played tennis in the mornings,
bridge in the afternoons,
high heels and dresses over her elegantly thin frame.

As a 9 year old my father sat us down,
said she would be more tired,
but she looked the same to us,
so we said okay and went to ride bikes,
throw rocks in the creek behind the house.

As a 13 year old I ignored her,
smoking cigarettes out my bedroom window,
sneaking out of the house to drink *****,
and get ****** with older boys.
She didn’t play tennis or bridge anymore.

As a 15 year old I started to notice.
I gave her shots in her arms,
I made my sisters lunches,
went to their soccer games,
Sat with her in the doctors office.
She didn’t get manicures anymore.

As an 18 year old I left home for college,
Trying to find out who I was.
I didn’t like to think about what was going on at home.
When I came home it was worse.
I bought her ***,
The first time we sat on the end of her bed
Finished a joint and sat with
two spoons and a gallon of vanilla ice cream.

That was 10 years ago.
I am a grown now.

She doesn’t socialize,
doesn’t leave the house,
She lays and dreams of what her life used to be,
What it could have been…

We still smoke *** on her bed
With two spoons and vanilla ice cream

I lay next to her and watch her sleep.
Her face often looks strained…
Like she’s in pain even in her dreams.
When she starts to sweat or cry
I place my hand on her arm
Until she’s wakes or calms.

Then I sit in silence
wondering what it will be like
10 years from now.
Elise Davis Jul 2016
It wasn't
that I went out alone
in a two day old t-shirt, greasy ponytail
got drunk at the bar
ate cold french fries while staring
at some sports game I didn’t give a **** about

It wasn't
that I thought about getting more drunk somewhere else
craved blacking out so I wouldn't have to feel at all

It wasn't
that I stumbled through my back door
into the dark quiet of my house
watched myself in the mirror swaying with red eyes
as I brushed my teeth

It was
only after I wrestled off all my clothes,
Laid in my bed and tried to sleep,
That I realized how deeply and utterly numb and empty I am.
Elise Davis Mar 2016
On one hand,
You're seeping in
To the most delicate
And untouched parts of my soul,

On the other,
My organs inside
Are like dry rough bark
Anyone who comes near
Is sent away with scratches on their heart,

I want to feel my whole insides become wet,
capable of unconditional love,
But I fear myself.

Many men have tried
to roll like sweet honey into my heart

Once my drunkeness has worn off
Or the initial thrill has dimmed
I scrape them off like a bug from my shoe.

When you look at me it is different,
When you look,
I can feel you seeing inside my soul in a way I can't hide,
Still I try.

I have no abandonment issues,
Or low self esteem,

I am just truly and simply a bird
When I see a cage
I become concerned.
Elise Davis Jan 2016
Last night,
I got out a bottle of Jack Daniels,
a blanket, an old stereo,
shaved everywhere,
lit candles in the house,
he’d told me he was coming over,

I thought about how we would sit outside on the porch,
I thought about how we would drink whiskey,
I thought about how we would kiss.

Our kiss wouldn’t have been an ordinary kiss,
Our kiss would lead him to realize I was who he wanted.

He never came over.

I finished all the Jack Daniels on the porch,
listened to the metal on the swing grind
as I pushed back and forth.

This morning I began to read my book for school,
“The Tupinamba were known to be cannibals.”
I wonder if he is just scared that’s why,
“They loved human flesh.”
During the show last week I know saw him looking at me the whole time,
“The fingers and grease around the liver were specialties, saved for distinguished members.”
I’ll wear my new jeans tonight at the party, they make my **** look good,
“The smaller muscles in the legs were distributed equally among the children.”
But.. he said he likes that black dress of mine… I'm going to wear that,
“Old women rushed to drink the warm blood.”
 I put down the book.

Outside my window the rain came in louder waves.
Tonight would be cold.
Showing my legs would be ridiculous.
Elise Davis Jan 2016
My mother's boyfriend had been out of jail
for a few months
he sat me down on the back porch
taught me how to roll joints

Breath in the air
fingers red and splotchy
too cold to achieve
the task he taught me

He rolled one up
said "**** it just take this"
I smoked it all on my own
fumbled around the steps

next thing I knew
I was awake with the sunrise
leaves stuck to my face
ants as my allies

Laying in the corner of some unknown yard
no phone, no hangover, no guilt, no bank card,
The only thing I remember thinking
in those first moments of waking
was how much I wanted pizza.
Elise Davis Jun 2015
Shucked oysters on the table,
horseradish and shells left on the plate,
empty glasses of beer,

He looks at me and smiles,
Under the bar lights I notice
His black wavy hair has thinned a little in the part,

Oddly it filled me with love for him,
I imagined him as an old man,
Gray hair... maybe none,
Lanky as always but moving slower,
His bad back bugging him more than ever,
His skin rough from too many sunburns,
Still telling strange jokes…

Only by then they will truly be dad jokes...
Grandad jokes...

When I look at him
I can see a lifetime.
Elise Davis May 2015
I might have told you some of these things,
If you were alive.
You had an amazing body from the moment we hit seventh grade.
Your ***** just sat, round and high,
Your ******* pointed straight outward,
Like a freak of nature, or an action figure.
Cheering at football games
Girls hated standing next to you because
You peeled their boyfriend’s eyes from their skirts to yours.

One summer night on Garrett’s roof,
After making turkey sandwiches at two in the morning,
******* the fumes in your thin lips,
Watching the smoke twist in the air
In front of your ice blue eyes,
And your white blonde hair,
We talked about ***.
About how it’s ****** up
      how it is so much harder
For girls to have *******.

Then I dated Jesse,
After you.
We were 16.
Sometimes I think about the night I told you I was sorry,
In the parking lot by the river.
Your breath smelled like Doritos and cherry *****,
You fooled around with your pink shirt
Telling me it was ok.

We talked about our secret handshake.
We talked about how you used to want to be nicknamed cupcake,
We talked about the time we had a séance.
Age eleven bringing back ******,
On your screened-in porch,
Warm air swayed the candle flames,
Crickets in the darkness around us,
A biker knocked over your trashcan in the ally.
You are dead now.
But you did it.
Sometimes I’ll eat too much,
Or *****,
Or smoke half a pack of cigarettes,
When I think about you.
One night last summer I ate an entire half-gallon of vanilla ice cream,
Alone in my kitchen.
My stomach felt sick for three days.
I walk the trail behind your house,
The one where you think you started your period.
The first place we ever smoked ***.
I talk to the trees about you.
When the wind blows the branches
And the dry leaves sound,
In that gentle shudder,
Along the cold ground,
My skin prickles,
And the hair on my arms rises towards the sky.
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