C. McAllister Williams
It's August & Feels Like It
for Possum Holler, Virginia
Give me a satchel
full of apples,
a solution of nails &
steal the algebras for any
boy who needs it.
I’ll thief gravity
for a woodcutter’s song.
This is how I bake
my bread―two parts
scoundrel, one part
chock full of blueberry.
They grow wild out here,
tickling the clap
board with glee.
Gather them with a grape
vine & both wrists
broken; a beard & hands
wrapped with dirt.
This is a hospital. That is a room. I am brimming. This jar.
The side of my brain is dark, has its misgivings.
It is a mistake to preach to the sick. I listen.
I have the wrong type of ears. Green is not a soothing light. No light.
Call it a slide, all floaty & restless.
If the left side of a man’s face forgets itself, then we’ve got problems.
All things can be traced back in mercury. Some bodies are not meant to stay buried.
a circle of barns snow
crows collect themselves a kitchen
licks its smoke a yellow
telephone rejects its cradle a leather
holster a door frame
the pistol is missing
there are hills the smell of dead cow a pit full of leaves & bone
the pickup bottoms out bearded men in the back smoke
it is a walking thing for most something methodical fenced in & freshly cut
dirt is everywhere a tractor does work across the holler
a voice a strong hand ripped flannel sleeve stained teeth
there are hills tobacco is growing
sheds shut up in rust singing now a hum
a shovel does work
I am thinking of shotguns I am ashamed
this is what I come here for this is the only thing
you come up from the bridge, smelling like beard & slaughter―all lunchbox
& oilcan gleam I meet you: purple
mercurochrome & creek water call it ritual
from the porch, a cat made of rust from the tree, a shotgun
a beetle sits in the barn this morning I sat
inside of it you smile I ghost
the cancer in your breath it’s august
& feels like it
Flask of evening―a cinder
block house―sky shot
in its hole. I squirm
on the porch. Who is
king of all this mud?
Spectres, a coffin
of mauled dirt. Ghosts
seep into wood & my world
seems to be rotting. Worms
are freezing. I mean
blood. My beard is full of tulips.
My ears have no
luxury. I hear in
my sleep ultimatums: the world
is the world. Cold
is cold. Fists are fists. Hold.
Stop. Together. Stop.
Quietly vanish. Stop.
C. McAllister Williams is the author of WILLIAM SHATNER (alice blue, 2010) and Neon Augury (Fact-Simile Editions, 2011). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Ostrich Review, Sonora Review, Pinwheel, ILK, and elsewhere. He lives in Milwaukee and is former poetry editor for cream city review.