blues poem (you are the rhythm in my heel)

I’ve got your name in my mouth
like a coiled snake. You’re in the pillowtop
riverbed all silted through
and smooth. Every c-word I begin
ends with the five letters I need
to complete your name
even when I want to spell
caught. Girl, you are buttered-up bread.
I keep finding your hair like watchchains
in my pockets. I think I’m losing
my grip. I’m full of you like lungs
filling with fluid. You are the scab I pick
and watch bleed. Woman, these watchchains
are tethers and you are the time I’m tied to.
But you are still the buttered-up bread.
You unhinge yourself
into the music. You are the root note
and I am the fifth and you are the octave.
I’ll ring out until this song is through.


P. J. Williams teaches high school English in Apex, North Carolina. He hopes to begin his pursuit of an MFA in the Fall of 2012. Please send him any vinyl blues records you no longer want.