Return when my strong ghost is gone:
When the ax-yard stump’s black center
grows moss, when the barn rafters
lose my fingerprints, after every post
forgets the warmth of my work-breath.
No need to forever ask: Is this
how he did it? You know and will grow
your own ways – a man’s touch ingrained
for your children to find and recall
the knots of your knuckles, planks of your palms.
John Davis Jr. is the author of Hard Inheritance (Five Oaks Press, 2016), Middle Class American Proverb (Negative Capability Press, 2014), and two other collections of poetry. His poems have appeared in venues such as Nashville Review, Tampa Review, One, The Common, and The American Journal of Poetry, among many others. He holds an MFA from University of Tampa.