M L Williams – Circuit

Profile M L Williams LE Mag October 2018

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Circuit, poems by M L Williams

M. L. Williams is author of Other Medicines and co-editor of How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including most recently Western Humanities ReviewMiramarThe Journal of Florida StudiesThe Cortland ReviewStone, River, Sky, and Clash by Night. He teaches creative writing and contemporary literature at Valdosta State University.


—the rest is dark.
—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 635

Vacant lot under a few stars and no moon and dead streetlamps, power out and rain thinned to mist rising from asphalt and windows flickering with candlelight or nothing. To walk the wet road looking up, line of pines a dark wave breaking, the way it must have been before, I want to think, but a car hisses past shining a river on the road and no owls hunt from the pecan tree, this pause in the usual city, this walk a kind of hope for fraying till at the end of the street the trucks grind down the way and gold lights whirl and spots glam on lines and a crane lifts someone in a hardhat up, hand raised to all that power. To turn around and walk back through the damp air slowly. To wait for it.

Suwanee Watershed

Look at the blue of the sky and say to yourself ‘How blue the sky is!”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 275

Tricking notes in the late morning sky, first a false cool the heat rises through into late cumulus, vultures banking in wide arcs and hawks soaring low, ready, while mockingbirds press their wars a song at a time, and one frozen heron stares quietly down into the creek where the box turtle bumpingly navigates, cicada choirs in the stained glass of a sky always falling, light sifting through branches lifted and fallen sweetgums and longleafs and pond cypresses ransacked by oyster mushrooms and angelwings, and here the silent ones with one leg keeping land from sliding into water as the Timucua who didn’t survive us believed when they had lived here, and blue before and after rains after mist rises blue-white, only then will cats uncouple from wheel wells to furl their bodies on concrete and lick and lick and no one steps off a porch and looks up without a hand to hide the sun, no one but the green anole pumping its red neck for what we call love.


“The essence is hidden from us” 
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 92

Lucent pink clings
to the backlit
(to it) window,
its tool, its trap,
my light
drawing June
bugs, night
flies, gnats,
moths, and it
circles, lunges,
bites, swallows
whole or snaps
until it pulls
wings deep in
till a circle
in its gut
with bodies
and what it
knows is how
to step on
and stick.


Back late from work
and I’m trying to write
but the dog barks and nudges,
pesters for a walk or play.
She’s tougher than the cat
bought off easily with a fist
of food clattering in his
metal bowl. How to explain
to her my need to fill
this space with words
when all the day’s odors
settle out onto night’s
cooling turf like a blank
and beckoning page.

© M L Williams

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