The World is a Vast Place

by Harold Whit Williams Issue: Spring 2016
A mosquito-bitten afternoon, thunder
again to the south.
An overcast overgrown
afternoon, a snakebit afternoon.
Sitting here,
sucking the venom
out of another workday.
Sitting here, counting my blessings and curses.
Found objects –
live oak, one raindrop flattened
on the grill cover,
a dead leaf, other dead leaves,
tumbler of bourbon, hawk on the wire.
Red-shouldered, I think.
Staring me down, daring me
to trespass
on his airspace, to clash
beaks and talons. May the best
predator win. I sit back,
smiling at his screech,
scratch an elbow itch and think –
what’s the ratio of humans to raptors?
Another screech and I think –
what’s the ratio
of spirit guides to venture capitalists?
The hawk takes off, all noiseless
and ghostly.
Sitting here, sucking bourbon
out of the tumbler,
spirit-guiding the thunder, the rain.
Staring myself down, daring
myself to trespass,
and to forgive those who trespass against me.

Harold Whit Williams

Harold Whit Williams is guitarist for the Austin, Texas rock band Cotton Mather. Recipient of the 2014 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize and a featured poet in the 2014 University of North Texas Kraken Reading Series, his collection, Backmasking, was winner of the 2013 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize from Texas Review Press. His latest collection of poems, Lost in the Telling, is available from FutureCycle Press.