Four poems by Katherine J. Williams


When the blue shadow of the elm edges

across the lawn, we head to the woods,

my hand in the hard smoky hand

above me. Sounds of students slide away

as we pass the campus, and the hush

dusk drapes around us, thick and cool.

The last of the day’s wasps lazily rise

from smashed apples that sink in the ground

as the swish of grasshoppers through

high grass gives way to crickets

easing under evening, calling for a mate.

Our way greys down to feeling, muzzy

light furs the edges, we’re lured

by the dark that is not dark,

by the scent of decay, the sense

of a path, the loud hush

of high trees crowded together.

I am thinking of the unseen snails

curled in their coiled beds,

squirrels snuggled in leafy dreys

above us. I don’t think

of what my father is thinking

in this silence that is not silence.

He and I will turn with the woods

at our back like wind, pass through pool

upon pool of streetlight across the campus,

into the house where my mother sleeps

in her high invalid’s bed. He will tuck

me in, leave on one light. Out on the porch,

the smoke from his cigarette will curl

around his yellowed fingers as peepers