Man with Manzana: title of the painting
I’m in—seated at a table, staring
through the apple, black seeds
housed within it, or looking through it
toward the grey hills,
the window streaked with dirt.
Dogs skitter, running
with great intent. Their nails
clip pavement & the sun
burns the pads of their paws.
Other apples are piled
in a wooden bowl: under their red
waxen skins is pulpy white flesh.
The manzana on the table
is arranged, a singular encounter.
The pile’s plural—I feel
too few for this scene.
Outside, the neighborhood dogs,
all barking together, threshers of air.
The rocks are painted:
one’s transformed into a spotted
white lizard, another, the scooped-out
skull of a dinosaur.
The painting grows, widens,
the man disappears. I disappear with him.
The manzanas, too red to be real.
Props, they’re wooden, heavier
than real. No cores, no stems to idly
twist while waiting for the film
to begin & the painting to end.
I press the prop to my forehead.
The title changes—
Man with Grief. Man Alone
at Table. Man Considers Dogs.
Man doesn’t even know
the Spanish word for table,
says gracias, repeating to show
he’s able. Thank you, for this
meal, this body, the fruit
he cannot eat, but how he loves
the snap of the first bite,
flesh set against teeth.
Derek JG Williams puts words into rows both long and short. He's a graduate of the MFA program at UMass Boston and a 2016 Blacksmith House Emerging Writer. His poems are published or forthcoming in Plume
, Best New Poets
, Forklift Ohio
, Prairie Schooner
, and New Ohio Review
, among others. Derek currently lives in Arizona. Learn more about him at www.derekjgwilliams.com