Nicelle Davis
Animated Excerpts from CIRCE


Odysseus does not come to bed. He spends his nights
looking at jars; gestures of a hand job from a topless
siren. The image poorly drawn, her fingers resemble
weapons. He will sleep when we rise. I’ve learned

to treasure his distance—it gives room in our bed
for a child. I watch my son on the brink of waking—
how his whole self tumbles in waves of breath—
completely taken with sleep—his face pulses

without muscle to mask the mechanics of life.
Oh, this is love for the loveless. I no longer
feel like I am waiting. As a witness, I am
alive—even if my husband treats me
as though I’m made of death.


There is never enough time to teach the art of return.
Home is the lie that never stops telling stories. Once

upon a time there were three sisters. Sirens who tried
to love everything they were not. They failed and kept

failing until a ship sailed past their efforts. They burst
into sea foam—followed the men to shore. The salt of

their arms made it onto the men’s tables. They were no
longer monsters, but flavor. Sorrow can taste delicious.

Son, do not fall under the currents of time. Enjoy sadness,
but don’t live there. This is only a story. The sisters will

find their way back to the sea and I’ll always be a sort
of home—even if home can only be a lie telling stories.

Nicelle Davis lives in Southern California with her son J.J. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Broadsided, Front Range, FuseLit, Mosaic, ML Press, The New York Quarterly, Offending Adam, SLAB Magazine, SLAB, Two Review, and others. She’d like to acknowledge her poetry family at the University of California, Riverside and Antelope Valley Community College. She runs a free online poetry workshop at The Bees’ Knees Blog and is an assistant poetry editor of Connotation Press.