Out of this World
She threatens to bite if they get too close her body sun-painted pure her backpack and robe on the curve of the shore she covers her ears crowd closing in their voices wanting more than a touch for she's far from old preparing to leave this hell wet sand up to her ankles wave wash up to her knees holding her arms out bearing her cross the crowd halts eyes wide unable to blink she stands firm in the sand and salt of the sea ocean settling into an immense pool of silence seagulls circling singing songs with actual words thousands of fish rising spinning in a dance a distant whale surfacing huge with angry eyes crowd running back into the sins of the city now understanding she's one of the chosen ones soon to be raptured out of this world.
He touched you often unable to sleep until he filled you with his poetry and you took his words as someone else's not believing every syllable was only for you Years later remembering when you left him you had the one most women long for and now you regret never seeing him again rereading poem after poem a thousand pages just for you dying little by little on every word.
Everything at her fingertips And everyone But no one completely All these years Looks and body Eye-catcher near perfect Until age bent her bitter Teeth sharpening into a horror Cavities decaying Mine effigies Oozing from her brain pores Snake ghosts Bread of dry crumbling cells Burnt toast Wrapped in a hardening cocoon Captivity hung Nightmare on a hangman's noose Sobbing until cutting loose The fall A last grasp Changing slap Picking herself up Stumbling to the pond in the garden Moon-mirror waters Kneeling Quake Cupping her hands to drink Ripples of time she tastes Finally understanding herself Acceptance of mercy Bitterness into freedom Beautiful wilting of a flower.
“Bitter” was first published in “Black Poppy Review”, May 2018.
Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to stay up all night and write with lightning bolts until they fizzle down behind the dark horizon. He was editor of Dead Snakes, UFO Gigolo, and Calvary Cross. He can be found on Twitter as papapoet.