by Chad Davidson

Dear Arrowhead water, dear feather boa, dear father
and mother with the toddler and cartful of candles:

I wanted to tell you the sky swished open its doors
this morning, the whole shebang slid by on felt,

and I entered the mythic fires of stoicism,
bore my nakedness in the manner of Shackleton,

defiantly ignorant. For I know that Target, centerless
like new pedagogies, loves the good good,

loves punishment somehow fulfilling
a niche audience. That’s me. I love to finger

the Milano-style whatnot, bend the necks
of five-headed floor lamps. Yes, I love you dearly,

dear church of the cherished storage bin,
dear Cheerios and the bowl to drown you in,

dear sky, dear reindeer aiming the plastic beads
of your eyes at my impulse buys. Once, I shot a gun

in the desert, laid it down in the sand and said
a small prayer to prayers of small sizes.

Years later, we navigated the marked-downs
and Doritos safe in their mylar pillows,

thought we’d stripped ourselves clean
of desire’s burrs and foxtails, even as popcorn

promised low-sodium transubstantiation.
We were registering, the word itself green and bearded,

so aimed our fantastic machines at the crock
pot and bath rug, at the iPod snug in its skin.

We dressed ourselves in the warmth of a small space
heater, fed the nuisance of class consciousness

little biscuits. How cloudless, how terrible and lucid
the distances we traveled for our dear wedding guests—

dear, which my Italian friend uses in that British way,
as in, That pair of pants is too dear. And how dear, how shear

the night, we thought, dearly beloved, outside the Target,
the headlights of all those cars trained on us.

Chad Davidson is the author of The Last Predicta (2008) and Consolation Miracle (2003), both from Southern Illinois UP, as well as co-author with Gregory Fraser of Writing Poetry: Creative and Critical Approaches (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). He is an associate professor of literature and creative writing at the University of West Georgia near Atlanta.