Your cry rips the darkness
yanks me up out of sleep
a swimmer forced to the
surface against his will.
I rise, navigate the autumn
darkened morning, and lift you from your
sleep world of bears and lambs
of dreams and flannel coverlets.
Together we dance our rocking dance;
you cannot tell me if or where it hurts.
Nor can I tell you of all that I would
keep you from, if only such keeping
I stand at your window, listen
to rain on the leaves, watch the cold
gray light, the coming of winter.
The rain overflowed
the half-clogged gutter,
mingled with dirt making
puddles the color of coffee
softened with evaporated milk
we pilfered my mother’s pans
barreled through the sopping yard
to shove our hands
into the brown pudding
of the first and last
ingredient of our lives.
Born in Kentucky, Michael Williams has spent most of his life in Tennessee where he has been writing and publishing for over four decades. His poetry has appeared in The Southern Poetry Review, Appalachian Heritage, Southern Humanities Review, Cold Mountain Review and other journals. He has been a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee and currently lives in Nashville.