by Jack Williams

In the fields of memory,
there’s a group of boys moving
toward the reservoir. It’s not dark,
not yet, but still the light is sifted,
half-broken through trees without names
and a trail of boys tracing water.
One of them will not make it,
but at this moment in the full fields
the only thing they must cull is wild fruit.
They still have time before the sounding,
an eternity to get used to the hollow splash
the drowned make; and in this snatch
of memory, pure as untouched water,
the skein of boys is unbroken.
The life that unravels their sleep for years
hasn’t been offered, not yet.
They know nothing of explosives fired
across water to make the dead rise.

There’s still time for them, the memory
allows that and more, and if a dream
corrupts any part of the day behind the fences,
makes any man cringe nightly years after,
then the memory divines the fields, the moments
before, gives another hour to them all.
The dead can rise, and whatever thing it is
that goes awry, bartering off someone’s son,
hasn’t yet roughed the reservoir.
There’s time for them all: the fields
teeming with boys, the half-light through
nameless trees, the wanderers in the joy
of not-knowing, the unlearned, the doomed.
No pitch of flat stones across water,
not yet. Only the pale vision of boys
in a forbidden place, for one long moment
no chance a thing ever changing
from this sunken day: the walking on water,
the stones, untouched, the awakening.

Jack Williams is from Stone Mountain, Georgia. He holds a degree from Georgia State University and has spent his working career in private business. He now works in Atlanta as chief operating officer for a real estate development company called Ashwood Development Company. He lives in Marietta, and has published poetry in several journals, including The Quarterly and Chattahoochee Review.