;

AFTER SAMSON BURNS HER FAMILY’S HOUSE AND GRAIN-FIELDS by William Kelley Woolfitt

Two ruined bodies, galena-black, tar-black,
charred flakes of cloth, countenances gone.
No ears, or eyes, or lips. Father, sister, offered
to a god, fat and gorged, that I deplore;
hands folded at the breastbone, as if fire
was a balm that soothed, gave them repose;
no hair to dress, no skin to wash and stroke.

Two ruined bodies, galena-black, tar-black,
charred flakes of cloth, countenances gone.
No ears, or eyes, or lips. Father, sister, offered
to a god, fat and gorged, that I deplore;
hands folded at the breastbone, as if fire
was a balm that soothed, gave them repose;
no hair to dress, no skin to wash and stroke.

Old moon when I sleep, when I rise, no cave
where it can roost, vacant haze, thread of shine,
me in the starless night,
interlunar, the night through all my joints
and bones diffused, the scorched kernels I gnaw
from the stalk, burrows where I hide, water
seeping from stone, the fox that licks my hand.

 

Back to Table of Contents

download

Susan Worsham, “Drowned Persimmons.”  (Photograph)

William Kelley Woolfitt chose Susan Worsham’s original photograph to accompany his poem.  The poet explains: “‘After Samson Burns…’ reflects my interest in the stories of unnamed figures in historical and sacred texts, such as the sister of Samson’s wife who was offered to him as a consolation prize in the Book of Judges. I see in Worsham’s photograph several echoes of elements in my poem, including fruit(fulness) spoiled, the color black, and water seeping from stone.”


 

 


Tags: , ,

About William Kelley Woolfitt

William Kelley Woolfitt
William Kelley Woolfitt teaches creative writing and literature at Lee University. He has worked as a summer camp counselor, bookseller, ballpark peanuts vendor, and teacher of computer literacy to senior citizens. He is the author of The Salvager's Arts, co-winner of the 2011 Keystone Chapbook Prize. His writings have appeared or are forthcoming in Threepenny Review, Cincinnati Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Ninth Letter, Shenandoah, Los Angeles Review, Sycamore Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review.