13 December 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 4
I pull a dog tick fat as a blueberry
from the small of my brother's back,
watch it roll, blood drunk
in the cup of my palm.
We've only been here an hour.
You can see the Indian
in my father's other family.
He's a quarter. They say
his first wife was half. Outside,
dust slaps open-handed
against this clapboard house. I taste it
in the Kool-Aid, more grit than sugar:
irritating, insoluble. There's talk
of the forecast—thunderstorms, tornadoes—
as my mother ushers us to the car.
Soon we'll stop at the state line,
gummy bears and gas and a sign
for $3 half pints of bourbon.
Sober six years, he'll stare,
my father, brood open-mouthed
until my mother pulls him away.
For now he kneels on the porch, alone
in the sepia light, and tucks an envelope
beneath the propane tank without a word.
About the author:
Johnathon Williams writes and makes web sites from his home in Northwest Arkansas. His poetry has appeared in Best New Poets 2009, Unsplendid, and the Pebble Lake Review. He's a student in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas and a founding editor of Linebreak.org, a weekly magazine of original poetry.