New Year’s Day: Ensenada
Derek JG Williams
  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 PlumeBest New PoetsVinylForklift OhioSalamanderPrairie Schooner, and New Ohio Review, among others. Derek currently lives in Arizona. Learn more about him at