"I have kept 4/4 time to the river’s current."
"For all gods listening or not"
A coworker says blackberries and I'm ten again
In that bramble beside the pasture.
Tom is barefoot and giggling.
Our lips purple from the ripe fruit.
I carry daddy's binoculars
And his sense of impending doom
Around my sunburned neck.
Mosquito hum. Meadowlark mantra.
Far-off rumble of the Memphis train.
Our sticky fingers. Our aching bellies.
That sky a blueline map of forever.
Tom pulls a pocketknife to swear an oath
For all gods listening or not.
He slices our palms and we touch
For the transfusion. We touch
To mingle meanings. We touch, then let go.
Decades have passed, that pasture
Now a neighborhood,
Yet I can still taste the tartness
Of a childhood Saturday. I can still hear
Those meadowlarks, the mosquito hum.
I can still see the scar,
And feel that faintest pulse
Of a dear friend's summer heartbeat.
Harold Whit Williams is guitarist for the critically acclaimed rock band Cotton Mather, and he releases lo-fi home recordings as Daily Worker. He is a 2018 Pushcart Prize Nominee, and also recipient of the 2014 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize. His collection Backmasking was winner of the 2013 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize from Texas Review Press, and his latest, My Heavens, is available from FutureCycle Press. He lives in Austin, Texas.