Two Poems by David S. Higdon

McQuady, '75

Springsteen sings something 

about Mary’s dress and a screen door. 

We crashed through the plate glass, 

the storm door resisted, our hands 

braced for shards. Mother loved 

us & the church & music. 

A lioness & a teacher—her pride left her.

That fall, our brother fell from 

gray skies while National Geographic 

stacks swelled in the basement.

There were rides & dancing, 

burning piles of leaves, apples laid to rot.

We smelled like Father’s cigarettes. 

Old men kept quiet and off to one side.

On Thanksgiving they tilled, hunting 

for bird or squirrel or slaughtering the hog.


Ceramic Jesus

The day Dad reclaimed his faith he brought 
home a ceramic cross to hang on the wall, 
two-dollar sticker stuck on its base 
and crude initials scrawled in the back.
The wood was painted a patchy acrylic,
a brown too dark for the wood of a cross, 
maybe a railroad tie or a jungle vine, 
but not the wood cut by a Cross Maker.
My father watched men beat each other 
on TV in our dim lit living room.
Under that cross, I’d watch the boxers 
lock up, wrap long arms over shoulders, 
slick with sweat, a cut over a swelled eye, 
the bell signals the end of a round, retreat 
to corners, sucking the air, spitting teeth 
into a metal bucket. The ring girl would circle, 
a bold number held high. Eyes and howls
from the smoky dark. Bloodstains 
and dirt, and Jesus staring down.

David S. Higdon is a writer from Kentucky. He is the recipient of the 2021 Kentucky State Poetry Society Grand Prix Prize. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Black Moon Magazine, Coffin Bell Journal, Exposition Review, and others. He lives with his family in Louisville, Kentucky.