The Big Rock Reading Series Announces
A Joint Reading
With the Arkansas Literary Festival
Poets Martha Silano and Johnathon Williams
Friday, April 19, 2013 @ 11:00 a.m.
To whet the appetite, we offer poems by Silano and Williams. Hope to see you at the reading.
A Country Wedding
The JP is drunk, and my father
dying, the embryonic clot
destined for his lungs
already cooing beneath his scarred left calf.
I wear a T-shirt. Her parents
are late, their stop at the Elks Lodge
extended when the tap struck air.
Moths and mosquito killers
light our vows, their procession
into the bug zapper a parable
of obsession and sacrifice.
Someone’s aunt plays the parlor
piano, middle C lost months ago,
and the tune unnamable.
Hours later, we sit upright
on my twin bed like witnesses
to a car accident where no one
was at fault. A school night, and tomorrow
we still won’t be allowed to kiss in the cafeteria,
so we compare notes on two years
of sex in station wagons and graveyards,
dress her dolls in the diapers
everyone assumed we needed.
Headlights wash the window in bridal white,
then disappear. We stand as a truck turns
and travels back into its own dusty wake.
The highway is miles from our dirt road.
None find it in the dark.
Johnathon Williams, from The Road to Happiness (Antilever Press, 2012)
It's All Gravy
a gravy with little brown specks
a gravy from the juices in a pan
the pan you could have dumped in the sink
now a carnival of flavor waiting to be scraped
loosened with splashes of milk of water of wine
let it cook let it thicken let it be spooned or poured
over bird over bovine over swine
the gravy of the cosmos bubbling
beside the resting now lifted to the table
gravy like an ongoing conversation
Uncle Benny's pork-pie hat
a child's peculiar way of saying emergency
seamlessly with sides of potato of carrot of corn
seamlessly while each door handle sings its own song
while giant cicadas ricochet off cycads and jellyfish sting
a gravy like the ether they swore the planets swam through
luminiferous millions of times less dense than air
ubiquitous impossible to define a gravy like the God
Newton paid respect to when he argued
that to keep it all in balance to keep it from collapsing
to keep all the stars and planets from colliding
sometimes He had to intervene
a benevolent meddling like the hand
that stirs and stirs as the liquid steams
obvious and simple everything and nothing
my gravy your gravy our gravy the cosmological constant's
glutinous gravy an iridescent and variably pulsing gravy
the gravy of implosion a dying-that-births-dueodenoms gravy
gravy of doulas of dictionaries and of gold
the hand stirs the liquid steams
and we heap the groaning platter with glistening
the celestial chef looking on as we lift our plates
lick them like a cat come back from a heavenly spin
because there is oxygen in our blood
because there is calcium in our bones
because all of us were cooked
in the gleaming Viking range
of the stars
Martha Silano, from The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception (Saturnalia Books 2011).