William Virgil Davis: “Length of Days”


There were always the three of them,
two brothers and one brother’s friend.
In summer they were often in the park,
along the lake or near the river,
at the shallow spot where they could
ride their bikes across. They searched
for fish or frogs and tried to spear them
with a sharpened stick or an old
umbrella tine, to take trophies they
could carry home.

xxxxxxxxxxSo were their summers
spent and they largely unconscious
of the length of days and even of the
small falls of silt that flitted, filtered
down in shiny strings, glinting in the wind
and coming to rest momentarily on
one of the brothers’ hair or the friend’s
shoulder—only to be brushed away,
or disappear the way the late light did,
as the boys turned and returned home.

William Virgil Davis’s most recent book of poetry is Dismantlements of Silence: Poems Selected and New (2015). He has published five other books of poetry: The Bones Poems; Landscape and Journey, which won the New Criterion Poetry Prize and the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Poetry; Winter Light; The Dark Hours, which won the Calliope Press Chapbook Prize; One Way to Reconstruct the Scene, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. His poems have appeared widely in periodicals, including Agenda, Atlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Georgia Review, Harvard Review, Hopkins Review, The Hudson Review The Nation, Malahat Review, New Criterion, PN Review, Poetry, Raritan, Sewanee Review, Southwest Review, Southern Review, TriQuarterly, and Yale Review.

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