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William Bortz



in its waywardness

        flickering against a hollowing twilight

I consider the rogue patch of lightning


off in the distance

        momentarily nestled inside the mouth of a low hill

        just above a field of rye

to it, home is a revolving door

from drought to dance / to pride to affair / and again to drought

as an idea


is comfortable &

        comfort is indispensable

a guttural bellowing: the crank of distance collapsing to closeness draws nearer

        its voice pressing to my neck

        the peach hairs


it begins unfamiliar / before stumbling off

        like an echo removed from the racket that birthed it

the palm of mother’s belly

the organic rumble

the swell eclipses the longing

and the blanket of night

smothers everything golden

and new



of your heart beating without you ever having to ask it to

is a miracle while the others would say it is simple

anatomy and maybe sometimes living is somewhere in

that grey area between the two which means surviving

is a slope and sometimes you don’t need to ask the

beating thing to keep rhythm but to convince it to direct

enough blood to the mouth so that it can say ‘thank you’

once in a damn while / yes / maybe if my mother had

found the voice needed for worship she would have made

more room in her hands for gratitude and less for those

bitter berries she plucked throughout the day and saved

for when her hunger grew stronger than her will / yes /

some argue that once you die your brain remains conscious

long enough to know that it has passed on and I wonder if

gratitude could ever live in that space / yes / I would take the

side that having to ask the body to do something as basic as

turning the open palm downward is anatomy but doing so

when the thing being held is honey on parched lips is / yes /

a miracle and I would like to think that in that brief period

between the haze and heaven you would remember that

I was always on your side

Author Photo copy.JPG

William Bortz is a husband, editor, and poet who lives in Des Moines, Iowa. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Empty Mirror, 8 Poems, Folded Word, Honey and Lime, Okay Donkey, Luck Magazine, Unvael Journal, and the Lyrical Iowa Anthology.

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