Introducing the May 2009 Readers – 2. JL Williams

JL Williams was born in New Jersey and studied at Wellesley College with the poet Frank Bidart and on the MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Her poetry has been published in journals including Aesthetica, The Red Wheelbarrow, Cutting Teeth, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Wales and coming up in Fulcrum and Stand. She is one of the founding members of SHIFT and is on the editorial boards of VAIR Poetry magazine and of Brown Williams Journal.

Bounty

His wet skin, his five dark horses, his antelope horns, his long thighs, his lips.

There is a bruise above his breast beneath which beats the bronze drum of Tantalus.

Married to the daughter of a river-god how
could he ever hold her, body rushing through fingers…
himself neither one thing nor… always just out of…

In Argos they stroke his bones, he whose soul is that of a man’s, whose body
is that of a god’s, resides where his mother made him deep
in the bowels of the earth where rubies and diamonds propagate.

Shaman, he fed his son to the earth and the earth
in her sorrow ate him and thus he must be buried and must
we all be buried, become like jewels, become bounty.

– (originally published in The Wolf, Issue 19, December 2008)

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