John Devers Jr., Summer 2016

Two Poems

John Devers Jr.

Let your car replace your mind
And drive
To retrace your steps
Down old, familiar streets.
You pass the pizza place
Turned floral shop,
Whose pizza was terrible
With over-risen bread
And diluted tomato sauce,
But you ate it because
You were young
And your parents
Only gave you so much.

You pass the ice cream shop,
Where either the workers
Got younger
Or you got taller,
And your chances of low-key
Dropped exponentially
The further you went away
From your High School graduation.

You pass your ex’s house
And, while there aren’t hard feelings
And it’s been a day, month, or
Whenever you stopped counting,
You hold to a lingering hope
Their car is still in their driveway.

You hit the expressway
Where the mountain in front
Shrinks as you near it,
And the mountain behind you
Fills your rearviews,
The windmills spinning
Cheering you on
And you think to yourself
That if you can just clear it
You’ll never come back,
But you’re iron
And the mountains are magnets,
Always pulling,
Keeping you in place.

Spring is coming
And all the people you know
Who so easily walked out
Come back to town
To fall languidly into their past
And you cross your fingers
That on your trip to Target
Or your weekend visit
To the college bar you’ve outgrown,
You won’t have to answer
The howdy-dos
And the what-do-you-dos.

Everyone that leaves this place
Might as well have
Slayed a dragon
Or exorcised a demon
Because, they’ll tell you
This place sucked them dry
In one way or another.

Demonize their hometown
To fit a pleasing
But overall clichéd
Narrative of their life
Of constant overcoming,
Or they romanticize
The world beyond the windmills
Because the grass, well, you know the rest
But what they don’t know,
You assure yourself,
Is that a person like them or you
Is sulking on a fountain
In Washington Square Park
Or ankle deep in
Sugary Hawaiian sand
Or shuffling through Parisian streets,
Not bothering to look at the Eiffel,
All of them
Thinking out loud,
“If I can just get out of here.”


John Devers Jr.

I saw Albert Einstein’s brain
Sliced in sheets
Underneath a microscope
Behind protective layers of glass.
If her pulse dulls any more,
The guard stationed adjacent
Will become a part
Of the museum
Of medical anomalies.

Skulls forever grinning on a pedestal,
Fresh med students
And the morbidly curious
Impressed with death
And the idea that this
Chipped cranium
Missing most teeth
Once wore blood
And nerves
And muscle
And skin
And died at the age
Of fifteen.

Stone-men skeletons frozen
Reaching out beyond the glass,
Plaster babies conjoined at the head,
Libraries of pins and needles
Extracted from children’s stomachs.
Horned men frown and the soap woman
Screams at you to get out
But to also take a glance
At the gift shop
For a souvenir mug
Or a postcard
Of a colon the size of
A Great Dane.

Exiting the building, you view
The quizzical faces of those entering
And the solemn repose of those leaving.
I study the people congesting the doors,
All of us
Non-anomalous on the surface.

John Devers Jr. is 23 years old. When he’s not writing he can be found playing Ultimate Frisbee and Wiffle Ball. His blog can be found at


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