by John Davis Jr.
As a middle name, it meant shelter.
Daddies knew that erecting it centered
anything in front or back against
the influence of northern wind.
Girl or boy, you’d get by alright
so long as dinnertime summons
and football game cheers culminated
in that smiling southern syllable.
Never passed down, but forward
like a compliment or saber:
A single breath of reinforcement,
a fulcrum between laughter and war.
John Davis Jr. holds an MFA from University of Tampa, and his book, Middle Class American Proverb, has been accepted for publication by Negative Capability Press in Mobile, Alabama. His chapbook of fatherhood poems, The Boys of Men, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in September. He teaches English and composition at Polk State College in central Florida.