Illume

What could we do

that blue maiden night

when the stars arrived

unencumbered

but offer utterly ourselves:

pale, mortal, dancing?

This painting, entitled “Luminous Darkness” by Beth Tockey Williams, is part of our collection of paired poems and paintings from the Dry Tortugas National Park.

Reunion

I pull from tangled 

island ventricles

pale claws nearly dust

to stash in my breast pocket.

Clittering china, I picture

a family of crab ghosts converging

over my pulse, ready to tuck

into their first bloody meal after death; 

eye stalks sway in synchrony 

raised in prayer to Sea, or

perhaps his brother, Sky.

Spectres Crustacea 

mingling in my pocket,

I scoop out my heart

and permit you to feast.

 

Photo credit: Beth Tockey Williams

Fledge

The sea grape’s
many ears are broad
and mirthful wax cups,
red veins steeped
 
in adoration
of each skim and sweep
of the young swallow:
his scoop of tail,
 
sea-shine
on dark wing.
No wonder she raises
her round ears
 
to the storm. No wonder
she lets them flutter
and fold, and perhaps
one day tear free.

Lightening is Dead

Then thunder comes

on shoulders of rain.

The roar you think

will taper off

 

so you stop to hear her out;

on she shakes, & on. 

Her bellow beats bereft

the balding palm, prickle pears

 

wag paddles in her face.

You hear her grief-ripples 

from the thick-aired house,

windows agape, sills –

 

tongues for puddling.

She sobs through lunch

of jasmine rice &

coconut milk, sobs 

 

through day marking papers 

in blue-black strokes.

Even unto sleep, even once

rain has ceased, thunder

 

crawls down the dark hall

on her hands & knees.


(The soft pastel painting featured alongside this poem was created by my mother, Beth Tockey Williams. Stay tuned for more content like this, as together we are creating a book of poetry and pastel landscape paintings documenting our experience as the Artists in Residence at the Dry Tortugas National Park!)

Dry Tortugas Artist Residency

For the month of September I will be living and working off-the-grid on remote Loggerhead Key with my mother, Beth Williams, a signature member of The Pastel Society of America, as the Dry Tortugas National Park 2019 Artists in Residency!

Our hope is to complete a manuscript for publication consisting of prose, poetry, and pastel and oil paintings all inspired by the Dry Tortugas’ effervescent marine landscape.

Wish us luck, and don’t use straws!