• Focus on the Family, 1996

    James Davis

    Summer 2023


    The family was a scatterplot
    through which I drew a trending line
    that pointed toward an origin
    that I called God. But it was not
    an unambiguous dataset.
    What the hell was a “third cousin”?
    I’d met one at that year’s reunion.
    We’d watched the Olympics and got wet
    scoring each other’s cannonballs
    into the Hilton’s peopled pool.
    I plotted his coordinates
    next to a friend from middle school
    who met me in the bathroom stalls,
    where we ignored each other’s zits.


    The family watched a VHS
    in which James Dobson rapped with teens.
    He cracked some jokes. He wore blue jeans
    and doffed his hat to horniness.
    His wife and he had intercourse
    three times a week. [Audible groans.]

    James Davis is the author of the poetry collection Club Q (Waywiser 2020), which won the Anthony Hecht Prize. His poetry has been featured on NBC News and CBC Radio, as well as in the Gettysburg Review, Bennington Review, and the Gay & Lesbian Review. A PhD candidate at the University of North Texas, he serves as editor in chief for American Literary Review. His website is jamesdavispoet.com.

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