Lashed - tied with chunks of twine - and hung head down
toward the dock, a knot of mackerel, thick sides flecked blue
and black swayed - impassively - eyes weeping brine…Curing:
under a merciless sun. A little line of ladies filed by, pushing
strollers: the tiny bodies, inside, nearly comatose.
A bunch of fishermen, staggering like dry drunks, hosed clean
the decks, readying the fleet. Readying for? What? a summer.
So hot I swear the walls were sweating…thermometers
shattered (some said). Everyone sheer lost their minds.
(It was a miracle to make it through, each day…)
Then came the rain… The gutters overflowed, basements
flooded, but the heat never broke. That was when your old lady
busted-in, harassed me with: what kind of person takes off with
a crew he hardly knows: what’s he up to? As if I knew. What
the hell? To be frank, I was tired, dead tired. Still I spent half the night
trying, driving, asking “have you…” And what not.
Revived - but not rested – before dawn by sirens, I knew.
But it was too late (for answers). And then there were more crabbed
questions. “Where did he get that? Why’d he have to draw? What
drove him to shoot…? They had no clue. But I knew
you - the old ways – remade new: crystallized (though the design
of you, ingrained, remained) now brought to bold relief. All of-a piece.
All of-an order: thick as flies, hovering beside the chalk outline,
near the lip of the tracks, beside a bed of gravel, they gawked,
and gathered. And then, another chorus of whys. But already the odd oval
that fetal held you, was fading, under fresh rain.
I can tell you, if you really want me to
be perfectly frank, I can tell you why, (just)
why (point blank): those fish heads
by Edward Lee
... for when the nights turn cold / and loneliness fills / the moonlit bedroom ...
reviewed by Ashley Wagner
... Williams exhibits a careful attention to sound, which makes up the root of each poem, which crackle like cold leaves on a path ...