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By Phillip B. Williams

A storm and so a gift.

       Its swift approach

             lifts gravel from the road.

A fence is flattened in

       the course of   the storm’s

             worse attempt at language —

thunder’s umbrage. A tree

       is torn apart,

             blown upward through a bedroom

window. A boy winnows

       through the pile

             of shards for the sharpest parts

from the blown-apart

       glass. He has

             a bag that holds found edges

jagged as a stag’s

       horns or smooth as

             a single pane smashed into

smaller panes that he sticks

       his hand into

             to make blood web across

his ache-less skin flexing

       like fish gills

             O-lipped for a scream

it cannot make.

       He wants to feel

             what his friends have felt,

the slant of fear on their faces

       he could never

             recreate, his body configured

without pain. When his skin’s

       pouting welts

             don’t rake a whimper

from his mouth, he runs

       outside, arms up

             for the storm, aluminum

baseball bat held out

       to the sky

            until lightning with an electric

tongue makes his viscera


             the boy’s first word for pain

       is the light’s

             new word for home.

Source: Poetry (November 2013)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Phillip B. Williams
Phillip B. Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois. He is a Cave Canem graduate and the poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry. Williams is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, where he is completing an MFA in creative writing. See More By This Poet

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