Two Poems by David Havird

The Spell


I picture you with a knife
in one hand, the sandal
upside down in the other,

wanting a third
to handle the mirror.
Follow me

your footprints spell
in the dust. Amid the rubble
on either side

of the Street of Tombs,
not a stele standing. Where
have you swished off to, cruised

through what gate’s leer
(I’ve come ashore
with harpoon eyes),

toxic white
with mulberry lips,
swinging your hips like a fishtail?

Upon This Rock

Two days of it, wind from Africa
shoving the sea from its bed. The Sahara
erased the horizon, hazed the islands
from view. But now, across a bay as blue
as it is calm, as blue as the churches are white,
on the tip of each of two narrow peninsulas
gleamingly white—across the shimmering bay
a fishing boat putters. Over my shoulder
a dove coos; farther inland the bells
of the blue-domed basilica toll:
call and response. When next, from down below,
from somewhere amid the stand of pines
between this place and the shoreline,
a rooster crows, I go in my mind,
I shoulder my way—head down,
again I am butting my way through the wind
to the edge of the cliff: wind-steepened waves,
a crown, and wind-torn wisps like tatting,
the sea, a god’s bulk, bursting against the face
of the cliff, the depths like batting
up through a hole in a boulder
exploding. Hearing the rooster, I picture the rock
hawking the sea from its throat;
I think of the fisherman Peter
erupting with curses, in agony crowing.

About the author

David Havird taught for thirty years at Centenary College of Louisiana. In 1991 he was a visiting professor at the University of Aarhus in…

Read the full bio

Issue 23 · November 2015

Table of contents