Hand-drawn image of woman playing guitar on multi-colored couch

Pulling Strings by Chris Pais


Christine Davis


The sweat between her thighs
smells like copper.

Cicadas live off the root
and are gone by August,
but their needful noises
haunt the trees for months.
Can sound get stuck in

I’m amazed, constantly,
at how little I understand of
how these things work.

Do I kiss first, the petals of
your lips? Can soft slide
against soft? At night I think
of marking you with lipstick
and feathers. By morning
I am straightened out.

Turn me the wrong way round
again. I will wait until August
clinging to your roots.




Christine Davis is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where she lives with her husband, Justin, and their children, Jett and Cadence. She moonlights as an instructor at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. Her work can be found in Scapegoat Review, Snapdragon Journal, Paragon Press, Clarion and more.


Chris Pais grew up in India and came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in engineering. His work appears in Poetry India, The International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Wingless Dreamer, Wild Roof Journal, The Literary Bohemian, Defunct Magazine and elsewhere. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he works on clean energy technologies and tinkers with bikes, guitars and recipes.