Four Poems by William Palmer

The Dervish

Reaching for a small glass
of apricot juice, I first noticed
the tremble.

It stopped when I danced:
head tilted, right palm up, left palm down,
whirling round.

“Parkinson’s,” a doctor said.
I listened
and the sky turned lavender.

After a year,
a friend carved a cane for me
etched with phases of the moon.

When I walk with my cane
around the village, the tremble
disappears like a hummingbird.


After the Isolation

After the coughs that pulled
the insides out
of pumpkins, after
the three Paxlovid tablets
twice a day, the Z Pack,
the Prednisone,
after I can be
with my old throat
again as if in prayer,
I drive
to the market
and see forsythias
their bright yellow stems reaching up and out
on both sides
of the road
all along the way


The Sound

When Lowell learned
he’d have a few more weeks,
likely, he asked me to come over.

We sat downstairs by the wood stove
and looked out at the steady waves
and the light gray sky.

He gave me a box
of his favorite lures
for lake trout and whitefish.

When Carolyn came down
and said she had to go to the store,
she leaned over and hugged Lowell—

I heard the sound of their wet kiss.



Trust in the Journey
was the pup’s name;
he’d be six pounds or so
his whole life, the seller said.

My wife and I tried calling him Trust
but the name felt engraved
on a building and loan.
We chose Ollie with its long e

trailing in the air—
like a kid sledding
down a hill of fresh snow
holding that note of glee.

He’s black and white
with a gray beard;
his face looks like a Van Gogh

When he runs,
he skips,
his hips.

Sometimes at night
he’ll lick the inside
of my left ear
then disappear.


William Palmer’s poetry has appeared recently in Braided Way, JAMA, J Journal, One Art, On the Seawall, Poetry East, and The Westchester Review. He lives in Traverse City, Michigan.

3 thoughts on “Four Poems by William Palmer

  1. Wonderful new poems, Bill. With the image of coughs potent enough to clean out pumpkins you really nailed it!

  2. I love how a simple narrative can become a profoundly tender metaphor that embraces both the shadow and light of our lives journey. These are absolutely perfect poems!

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