Chad Davidson

Soft Costs

Not the steel of real green, sweaty presidents
mutton-chopped and fretful, no fistful of ogling
pyramids or nickel buckshot the jackpot vomits.
Not the excruciating weight of the penny lost
below that ’03 Yaris in the split-level,
its corrugated edges turning the cathedral green
of Danish copper. Not even the mother of all
those popsicle kids crowding the checkout line,
who waits for the register to end its refrains
before plunging into that ludicrous purse,
slapping a checkbook open, and composing her elegy
to speed. (Behind the window of her license,
even her photo laments its holograph profile
of the state of despair they’re all trapped in.)
Not any of that. Instead, think a pat of butter
slinking off a turkey thigh, the down of a cat
napping to death your comforter. Think of comfort,
of reliable excess, contentment in that numbers game,
where the tidy totals of a ledger swell blue and everywhere
leak their secrets like the squat Camembert in its balsa
coffin, stinking of success, which is the smell
of putrescence. For now, some digits in the Beatnik
rant of your mortgage papers grow tired and old,
wear their trousers rolled, order the fish at 4:30,
grow soft as the lint that gathers in your pocket,
which once belonged to your shirt and, further back,
a farmer in West Texas who at this moment
dreams of you in his plush green field.

Chad Davidson’s books include The Last Predicta (2008) and Consolation Miracle (2003), both with Southern Illinois University Press, as well as Writing Poetry: Creative and Critical Approaches (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009), co-authored with Gregory Fraser.