M L Williams – Late Again

Marty profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume Two, December 2020.

M. L. Williams is author of the forthcoming collection Game (What Books Press), the chapbook Other Medicine, sand co-editor of How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including most recently Plume, Salt, Western Humanities ReviewMiramarThe Journal of Florida StudiesThe Cortland Review, and Stone, River, Sky. He teaches creative writing and contemporary literature at Valdosta State University.

Late Again

“But, if you are certain, isn’t it that you are shutting your eyes
in face of doubt?”—They are shut.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, II xi

Lost sound in the attic
above the ceiling boards
a scurrying a simple scattered
music I strain to hear again
if rat if squirrel if the deep
pull of time on wood
if startled birds or bats
if weight of moths circling
a light left on or bursting
in the heat up there
if a spirit the house incarcerates
a spirit it fails to keep out
there above the ceiling boards
a simple scattered music
it is not it is not it is not


Is hope a feeling?
—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 554

The cat wailing is not her cat,
but she sets down her roses
and goes out, the night warm,
looks for the damn thing down
the road where it’s curled up
after a fight to lick. She checks
night’s ever thinning rage
of light, wishing for a rope
of fire to gather her up
somehow, each late thought
held like a scratchoff
in a liquor store parking lot,
no rush to reveal its numbers
against the moonshine
jar of this tight-lidded town,
but there’s some kind
of leaving out ahead,
some way to add
to the chaos, something
more than just this
sick, quiet purring.

© M L Williams