Vignette for Frank O’Hara

The Indian summer afternoon was bleeding out
On its flat earth stretcher
With no hope of resuscitation
With no priest for last rites
And something about that play of light

Slanting through yellowing leaves
Made me want to ouija board my grandmother
For folksy instructions on canning
On preserving the last of the season’s okra
Field peas and squash and peppers

But my workmate was before me
Swirling her worries around inside a coffee cup
So I found myself listening to
But not really hearing whatever it was she sang
It sounded like verse/chorus/algorithm

It changed keys into a bee’s drone
It slow-faded to some commercial break
For new cars and trucks with no money down
Then the weather report and its magical realism
More of the same more of the same



Harold Whit Williams is guitarist for the critically acclaimed rock band Cotton Mather. He is a 2018 Pushcart Prize Nominee and received the 2014 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize. His collection Backmasking was winner of the 2013 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize from Texas Review Press. His latest, Red Clay Journal, is available from FutureCycle Press.



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