Category: Poetry

The Lydia Davis Project: Therapist

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘Therapist’)

Why do I think the way I do?
Because of you I 
Think I do.
Because you make me think
I do. I think I think
Because of you.
I’ve always thought I 
Think I do. Because
Of you I’m sure I do.
The others think I 
Think so too. But I’m sure
I do because 
Of you.

The Lydia Davis Project: The Mother

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘The Mother’)

There she is, pointing at me, poor girl,
Disappointing daughter, a woeful
Sight – these are her words
For me. This is how it is.

I long for times we were close with
One another. When notions of
Happy family panned out
To utter satisfaction.

Now she tells me the songs I
Sing aren’t sweet enough.
The meals I cook are
Not to her liking.

Please, mother, stop
Undermining me!
Barbed words
Tear me up.

Games she plays
To cut me
Down to

The Visitor

Ecstasy ecstatically pleases me
In these frequent bouts of flight.
Happiness haphazardly visits me
When I walk stark into the bright.
Pleasure potentially excites me
At the cusp of sensual delight.
Yet disappointment continues to visit
No matter how hard I try.

The Lydia Davis Project: Two Sisters

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘Two Sisters’)

Born one after the other in
Imperfect sequence.
These girls exist as
Reminders of a man’s

A man is not a man
Until his wife
Bears him  a son.
That is the way
Of the father.

These daughters filled
With daddy’s disappointment
Carry resentment for
Each other: The girl who
Could have been a brother.

All our poor girls – now women –
Will toil away, leaving
More daughters behind,
Their husbands disappointed
With no successful successors.


The Lydia Davis Project: City Employment

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘City Employment’)

Imagine the city you live in
Filled with all
Those characters
You see everyday:
The eccentric seniors
The fleeting strangers
The homeless stragglers.
But they are not
Who they are.

They are employees
Of a corporation:
The City Council.
Not quite actors,
But not the people
They appear to be.

Like yourself,
They have a job
To do. To fill
A role or two.
To play their
Part and pave
Their way.

The Lydia Davis Project: A Few Things Wrong with Me

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘A Few Things Wrong with Me’)

A few things wrong with me,
We can’t help but consider
When the axe falls and
Our heart breaks.

Trading bards like swapping
Stories never seems to
Even out the swarmed
Stings that surround us.

We drip, drip, drip
Away into that corner.
Nothing left but a
Bags of tears.

The Lydia Davis Project: The Bone

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘The Bone’)

Fillets of fish, labelled:
Boneless. Lies
they tell us
So we choke.

Can feel the prickly,
Pinching in
My throat. I want to
Claw it out – so horrible!

Gagging as the
Doctor pulls
Out the fishbone with
Careful precision.

The Lydia Davis Project: Cockroaches in Autumn

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘Cockroaches in Autumn’)

They are so like us, despondent
And quick to scatter at
First sign of danger:
A moving hand,
A rolled-up newspaper,
A falling foot.

Disgusting as they are to us
We cannot but help
Respect their stubbornness
To live. Their
To Survive.

What better way to
Prove you live
Than not
To die?

Lydia Davis Project: Visit to Her Husband

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘Visit to Her Husband’)

Speech so sudden and
Sullen from the mouths of
Both him and her.

They once shared love.
Now they share unfulfilled
Discussion after discussion,
Incomplete and insincere.

This final conversations finds
Itself interrupted by overlapping
Indecisions and reversed by
Faltering revisions.

Now with this marriage
Finally over, maybe
They can start all
Over again.

Lydia Davis Project: In a House Besieged

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘In a House Besieged’)

Man and woman
Live amidst terrors
Such as war and weather.
They are certain
Of these few things.

Long ago
Both decided
The only safety
Was between
Four walls.

Their lives – so
Boxed up and
Closed off to
The world. Afraid
Of it all.