Two Poems

by William Palmer Issue: Spring/Summer 2020

Joys and Concerns

Please pray for our son in prison
we want to say  

sitting in our pew
listening to others

sure our words will collapse 
in our own little cell.
        
But when we kneel
our words escape

in blue jumpsuits
entering everyone’s ears 

and whispering.

When Lucille Clifton Rode the Elevator

with me, I scanned my mail 
and found an envelope 
addressed to her.

Oh, I like surprises
she said.  

She opened it and unfolded 
one of her poems
smeared with excrement,
then handed it to me.

Don’t give it any power
she said.

I still see light drain from her face.  



William Palmer

William Palmer is a retired professor of English at Alma College in central Michigan. His poetry has appeared recently in J Journal, Poetry East, and Salamander.  He has published two chapbooks: A String of Blue Lights and Humble.  Grace Cavalieri has interviewed him for The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress.