Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Lori Williams

The Importance of Ties

It had seven white stripes, six blue.
The button was loose on his shirt, fourth
down from the neck. The white stripes
seemed violin strings. Such soothing music.
The blue ones shimmered like a humid day
on a highway or country road. That endless hope.

It was quite outdated as far as width,
like my hips since I turned forty. Too wide,
but not laughable, would not turn a head. Living
hips, alive tie. Tie that breathed. Breath is good.
I inhaled, lived.

His fingers shuffled the papers and I thought
of a breeze, maybe an important spring breeze, sent
to bend stems and petals. I thought of sunflowers but poppies
were there. I never liked them. His papers were loud
to my ears, so I listened to violins.

The flowers did bend, break. That awful, ugly tie,
those important fingers. Over his desk, eyes shimmering,
trying to crush the shuffling between the halves of me,
I heard the silence of my violins when he said cancer.

How Mr. Smith Spent Autumn

Mr. Smith digs, the bed of each fingertip hardened
by the shovel. Not worse than the mornings --
those seconds upon waking, when the dreams are enough
to have him think September is always lovely,
cool and perfect.

Mr.Smith remembers Brighton Beach, digging for treasures
with dollar pails and scoops, shrieks when the boy
found a pop top or mussel shell. Saved them all in a box --
where, the attic, a closet?

Mr.Smith gets new glasses, the old ones
see things he cannot believe. He is aged now,
at fifty. He hears the whispers, the pitiful clucks
of neighbors with their rosy cheeks.

Mr.Smith can't cry, he was raised that way.
His hands stretch out over dirt, he bends over,
mouth a twisted O, eyes dry, waiting. He remembers
the beach, the sun and sand, the scattered bones
of seagulls.

©2004 by Lori Williams

Lori Williams is a born and bred New Yorker who works as a legal assistant in the publishing field. She is the single mother of a 19 year old. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications, including Poems Niederngasse, Melic Review, Snow Monkey, Avatar Review, and Poet's Canvas, and is upcoming in Mind Mutations Anthology and Miller's Pond. See more of her work at her Web site.

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