Justin A. Davis


Justin Davis earned his BA in Literature & Creative Writing from Rhodes College, where he received the Anne Howard Bailey Prize in Poetry. A 2018 Pushcart nominee, his poems and fiction can be found in decomP, Bodega, Arcturus, and Memoir Mixtapes. He works as a community organizer in Memphis, Tennessee. Source

Flu Season

In the summer of 2014, hundred of Memphis police officers

caught the “blue flu,” and took sick days to protest a reduction in

benefits. Almost 40% of the City’s general fund is spent on policing.


It's flu season and I'm sick of bills. It's all 

Destiny's Child: bills, bills, bills. We have 

armored trucks and SkyCops and no food. 

We have body cams and no food and the body 

cams are never recording. Have you ever been 

denied so much you came down with a blue flu? 

Have you ever been as blue as a jar of Blue Magic, 

set of blueprints, a river filling with femurs, dull, 

red kidneys? I've heard the cops started as a better 

way to catch [   ]. Somehow a person with no

-thing is always the most dangerous. How many 

times have my taxes paid for riot shields 

cliquing together like birds? How much over-

time occupies my block and its quiet? Look: 

I lock the door when I'm sure no one's coming. 

I ask the ghetto bird, if only briefly, to wait. All my 

life, I've been asking for a park. Fresh oranges 

that don't take 3 hours to bring home.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Police Brutality

Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”