C. McAllister Williams

*

SULFUR

My fallen lightning, its dusklight swelter,
its cataclysm of lanterns & gimlets. I give this to you,

favorite confessor, dressed smartly in your ratty
cardigan. When I’m deep in my cups, I tend

to offer you a ramble of casualty. I sip
down the efforts of alchemy, lay a fiver on the fistfight

throwing together behind my eyes. You, in barswill neon, mouth
dismissal through country ballads & smoke. We have etchings

& pocket knives between us. Lacquered oak & a rag soaked
in bootsmart liquor. When we leave here, we’ll take different

routes down the avenue of crickets & transformers. We won’t
make the mistake of looking back over our shoulder for a humming,

off tune, inaudible. We won’t save ourselves for anything.
We won’t even smell the air.

*

FLINCH CENTURY

Every mention of shadewater puts my veins alight—paints the inside
of my pulpit a sickly gold. Like any ritualist, I prefer my systems
to be precisely catalogued. That way, when I attempt to speak

my histories, the lecture hall empties into the interrogation center.
Manacles & ball bearings make for a poor lover, but I find
the weather to be cold enough to foster my campaign, to sequin

the plague I bring to the doorstep . When I attempt to dig my escape routes, please
order my execution for the day after the gala. I’ll announce
my candidacy & greet the assembled horde with penny-thievery

& murmur. The atmosphere, then, will be just ripe
for collapse. Gather the parishioners and their problems
in a little rowboat. The handcuffs have been exquisitely

prepared, shackled to the wound gazebo. When the band
starts playing, I’ll seek out the trombone. I’ll grind accordion
& matchstick the babies. Call the gallery & call

the general. Call the genteel. Call the ghost.

*

 

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