Three Poems by Beth Oast Williams


Tell me if holding
my breath counts
as silence. I admit
to not crying enough
at graves. And yet,
I suffer with this
aftertaste of eating
embers. What makes
sense at midnight
evaporates into dream.
Frost on the car blocks
my morning view.
I admit that loving
him is hard as January
dirt. Witness my knuckles,
bloody from boxing
with the earth. I confess
this is just another poem
struggling to miss him.



You believe the earth
turns around your words.
But a poem is not space
to fill with stars. Let’s not argue
about rotation. Tonight’s sky
lights up with what
no longer exists. In anger,
you leave the room
like a candle fighting wind
that sneaks in from an open
door. You forget how it all slips
through cracks in the wall.


Eve Is Always The Day Before It Happens

Lost in a forest, our voices
share stories, as if reciting a poem
is evidence I exist. You taste
forgiveness each time you swallow

my name. This is the day mechanical
clocks would have stopped
but we are too in love
with the depths of longing. Admit

there is one way to keep this myth
from dying. Let the world
believe I made its first mistake.
Don’t call this poem a confession.

This stanza is a porch swing.
We sit here, allowing hair on the back
of my neck to bristle. You push us
with one foot, lift it, and we drift

forward. How easy it is to whisper.
A car turning down the road
signals this moment will soon be over.
Gravel like the clearing of a throat.

Listen as time breaks into twigs,
the tenor of tomorrow’s fog.


Beth Oast Williams’s poetry has been accepted for publication in Leon Literary Review, SWWIM Everyday, Wisconsin Review, Glass Mountain, GASHER, Fjords Review, and Rattle’s Poets Respond, among others. Her poems have been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her first chapbook, Riding Horses in the Harbor, was published in 2020.

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