Five Poems

Ruth Williams
 About the Writer
Split Lip Magazine

Ruth Williams is the author of Flatlands (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming 2018) and Conveyance (Dancing Girl Press, 2012). Her poetry has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, jubilat, Pleiades, and Third Coast among others. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of English at William Jewell College and an Editor for Bear Review

The Lake Maker


Your desire is a boat and I know it. Curvature of wood and the tense sides of solid to water. It seems simple: you set out, you take a boat. But, the floating, oh, it's magic. Gliding, like the wail of a voice. That's what you split across the lake. That's the force you make evident. The person in the boat has a certain vantage. The lake calls it limited, you call it overseen. Nature split the difference and called it lighthouses. To complete the picture, I want to be empty of myself, somehow flamed out, ignited. Then, I'd present no danger.



The Suntress


Light particles in my dress spread me round. I chased my own sunbeam rabbits into holes, up my shins, into nothing. A bare mound that some called ancient, others merely a shadowy denouement. Sun gets caught up in living and when it nods in me, it remembers the past. The pattern of freckles lets the world know where you've been, how long you've been kissed. I remember my mother holding me up to the light as a child, wiping her thumb across my lips. She said, sun madness. She said, get gone, but I forgot that shadow.




The Leveler


Short takes on the cement. A chalk outline of some kids' old drawings that make shapes like shadows on walls--indistinct messages all around. Their hands could have fit inside me, but I left myself too wide open and they fell out. Later, I had to lay down on my back so as to be unnoticeable. I could blend in, yes, but there was always the matter of the markings on my clothes. The outline of some other drawings kept me from being a body outlined myself. Why are you all trying to trace me? I was trying to make things easier to understand.



The Slow Club


It's a nice daydream, but it'd be too weird to try it.

Sandy, Blue Velvet



A sexual slowing of the voice is commonly observed in the female of the species. If a body comes through the trees, then the girl is suggested to be a moth, but the man nightshades until he comes undressed. Many flaws in logic in the species. When the girl speaks she wants to be dishabille, disjointed, arms thrown back. Little tiny clothes squeeze out of her vowels.  The running down of the bulls is what she's after. Many get overheated, their eyelids run, they toss their shirts into the street. This is the operation of velvet. It's dark math makes touch. Makes sense. There's the white lunar moth of the man's ass! Hit it! Hooves all up and down the street.  Red shirts in the trees. Ah, yes, I know the sound of that hot rod is how she'd be in bed.




The Accountant

Dead math man. Detective nods, This is the kind of thing that might catch on. This is how we externalize our need for capital. A kind of hook that braids us into one tall wand. A waving stick of fingers crooked to push the coins into some temples. The makeup on the math man's chest is fake, but the red bubbling of the chest accrues your stare as "interest" nonetheless. Give me what you owe me, we think, we're catching on.