Tale of Two Captains

Captain Morgan held fast to the rigging
as the ship keeled sickeningly to port
before finally, exasperatingly, righting itself.
He snapped,
“I told you we needed to wait another day
before Rounding the Horn!
This storm’ll be the death of us!
The ship’ll be dashed
into a thousand pieces!”

Captain Crunch, also holding fast,
narrowed his eyes and growled through
the tiny gap between
his gritted teeth,
“She’ll hold up, just you wait and see.”


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Dancing to the Idol

In the feverish night
we danced barechested
round the bonfire
drums throbbed the rhythm
our painted faces
chanting to the idol
we felt anything could happen

In the glaring morning
our brains throbbed
with hangovers
and the world looked the same

Yet we hoped the idol
would answer
our prayers of fame and riches


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Empty Boat

How many years
had Julie prayed for this?
Didn’t matter if Caleb
had slipped off the boat
or a monster octopus
pulled him under
the water.

The waves delivering
the empty fishing boat
to shore also delivered
freedom from the
demeaning yells
Julie had to endure
for most of her marriage.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

William Carlos Williams Stole My Plums

Photo of a wooden bowl containing several dark plums
by Joanna Kosinska/Unsplash

I bought the plums
at last Sunday’s
farmer’s market

then put them
in my fridge

because 
I like them
sweet and cold

This morning
my eager hand
opened 
the fridge’s door

A blank spot
weighed
the shelf

where the plums
rested yesterday

I found 
Mr. Williams’s poem
on a
scrap of paper
on the 
kitchen counter

and now
I’m left
to think about

burglary
bitter disappointment

and the
possibility of forgiveness.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

The Poetry Foundation has the poem that inspired this one: “This Is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams

Omeleto Films released the short film (7.5 minutes) Sorry, Not Sorry that has a darkly humorous take on the poem.

Fountain Wishes and Memories

The locals scurrying about
see it as a thing they’ve seen
a thousand times before.

The tourists gawking agog
see it as a charming thing
where they toss pennies
and silently make wishes,
shelving the experience
as one among many on their trips.

As I sit on the fountain’s ledge
I remember some
of the wishes I made
as she and I strolled by it
after dinners in restaurants.

And I wonder about the wishes
she made, as she
never told me any of them.

Those wishes evaporated
since she left,
leaving memories,
but at least I still have those.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams