The afternoon sky had turned
All West Coast or something,
And summer was seeming to say
“Sorry for everything”
By way of breezes and gray clouds,
With a few teardrop pigeons
Falling from the Biology building,
Coming to rest or to roost
In some hedges I’d never noticed.
So I burrowed down deeper
Into the debtor’s prison
Of my day job, and I thought
Of all the songs I wish I’d written.
And I played a few of them
Inside my head at low volume,
So as not to disturb those voices
In their slumber. But several
Woke anyway, and one sang
A ballad to silence the rest.
It was heartland in its origin,
Full of working-class sadness.
I’ve counted ten thousand verses
With no sign of it stopping.
Harold Whit Williams is guitarist for the Austin, Texas rock band Cotton Mather. Recipient of the 2014 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize and a featured poet in the 2014 University of North Texas Kraken Reading Series, his collection, Backmasking, was winner of the 2013 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize from Texas Review Press. His latest collection of poems, Lost in the Telling, is available from FutureCycle Press.