Jeff Williams

Old Penny

Tell me, traveler,

about the sticky pockets of toddlers,

the tip jars of the dreaming baristas,

and the cupped hands of the hopeless.

Tell me how to bear

being someone’s good luck.

Tell me how to tumble head over tail

then choose who wins.

Tell me how to sink

with the weight of a wish.

Tell me how to be

spun, jangled, sorted, stacked.

Tell me how to be

hammered, smashed, chipped, counted.

Tell me how to be

so spent, yet still carry your message

of emancipation.

Next Time

I know! Next time

let’s come back

as water lilies —

our toes tickling

the dark ooze

as we tango,

rooted yet floating,

faces to the sun,

living off delight.


Things split so easily,

take chopsticks.

Years of rigid intimacy

makes it easy

to pull them apart.

My ex and I

pluck at the sushi

and talk about the kids,


where the connection was.

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