Final First Poem
–Phillip B. WilliamsIn the beginning, I suspect my index is on fire.
Daystart spasmodic with hunger, my dull teeth catch
on pale figures voweling from an empty heaven. God
been left, bored too with ransom for art, allusionsstacked like reluctant saints in a pyre: Eliot, Alighieri,
Homer. The sun’s glossy odyssey traces half-
moon above the horizon, clefts these Alexandrine hours
into shoddy boats I’m tired of drifting toward nothing on.
“There was once a sea,” I begin, having never seen a sea
nor been able to seam any time to “once.” Now, I sleep
and avoid documenting my rhyme-sourced wet dreams,
and who would collect these metered christenings?
I want to know what you must know. I own nothing
impressive. No noctuaries of gallivanting steeds, no
beloveds creeping from sun-bloodied water in a salt-
stained stolen dress, no oceans from which she stole
her voice to give to me to offer you slow-blinkingly,
awaiting “genius” and a circle of rooks (all the crows
have gone, my love, and all shovels cradling yarrow and jewels
of beetles have rusted away revealing my face all along
held these things in unrequited climax) to crown me king.
The book is burning. Come, sit at my bedside. Let ash
fill in the fugue that was your need. Now, open your hands.
Reader, read to me what you have stolen and called your life.