Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 3



Serjevah Davis


“…without ceasing…”

A little brown girl
Sits
On her bed
On the floor
On a quilt outstretched

Crumbs
Of daylight spill
Through the window
Through the curtain
Through the bedsheet thumbtacked
To the wall

Callused knees
Callused palms
Proof
A little brown girl hopes
Proof
She's argued with kings

A dirge
Her tattooed covering
See each letter
Crook under spine and rib
Fold her
Like disappointed arms

Like her father's
Like her mother's

Dawn spreads herself open
Lips parted wide
Thick, toothy grin
Over girl
Over calluses
Over tears

A new day is coming
Is here
Which means night will follow
Which means everything will follow
Which means everything will follow
Which means everything
Was fallow
If time will not stop
But bring all its calloused horror with it
How does a little brown girl
Pray for sleep
Pray for sleep
Pray to sleep
Eternally?




the number of a so-called man

His small fist
Acknowledged
My presence




An Opportunity Seems Wonderful

in matters of skepticism.
To have a truth more content in its finality inspires
the surrender of time.
On the other hand, an afternoon prepared to self-sacrifice
absolutely nothing,
merely engaged in sudden unhappy schemes,
is dead -
the victim
punished for confidence in opinion.
The imagination breathes what fears produce. Each
of us milling about, our truths exchanged,
very few established.

In a maple grove, I take shade under a tree
older than my father's father.
Finally,
holding a pardon in cupped hands with family member's addresses
carefully preserved for inspection -
the highest position in possession crowded as the time approaches for
departure -
envisioning a marvelous memory of
round smiles
expecting distinct pint bottles of Crown Royal
to cascade over teeth and tongues -
resurrection sounds sweet.




Gemini Die

I've fallen beyond the light. Beyond the gaze.
Beyond the surging pulses of blaze. Entombed
beneath particle, beam and shadow.

Here is. There is.

Exists outside of mortal consciousness. Hidden
in the ivory buds of Catalpa leaves.
Or under the hairy toe of a honey bee.

A baroque canopy of steel harps hums
my dirge, beguiling melancholia to the Gallos
of sirens.

Clawing clavicles to quell the clutch of
each concealed talon. Onerous heaves
in my belly

rise and fall with the Sun.

A body

laid listless above the knuckled mouth
of a talus cave.
Within and without.

I am undone.


Serjevah Davis: I grew up in Tampa, Florida and graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Currently based out of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, I have most recently had my work featured in The Big Windows Review and Poesis Literary Journal. I hope that my poetry will be an encouragement and inspiration to readers. You can find me on Instagram @scarrletwolff.




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