What I Mean When I Say No Hablo Español
When certain men notice me
waiting for the train outside Pioneer Square,
they offer you-see-me head nods, and I
bob back, waiting for whatever question
they will use to catch the countries
that they miss from my voice.
And for a moment I think maybe
my college-level Spanish is enough.
But at every ¿qué hora es? or ¿de dónde eres?
I just shake my head—my awkward apology
for another caught-between moment
of skin tones and tongues—: this broken harvest
of textures I have never known.
Geffrey Davis grew up in Washington and holds degrees from Oregon State University and The Pennsylvania State University. His work has appeared in Crazyhorse, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Massachusetts Review, Nimrod, [PANK], Sycamore Review, and elsewhere. Davis is recipient of the Anne Halley Poetry Prize, the Wabash Prize for Poetry, the Dogwood Prize in Poetry, the Leonard Steinberg Memorial/Academy of American Poets Prize, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation. Revising the Storm (BOA Editions), winner of the 2013 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, is his first book of poetry.