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  • Cast Iron
  • Derek J.G. Williams (bio)

Summer: coal skin, ash within,   pressing my cheek to the stove’s cool flank, it sounds     like a seashell’s       empty roar.

      Two iron lions     tangle on the door   of the wood stove in our two-room house.

Winter: the cats and dogs   pile near its heat, they sleep       on the stone floor.

        Before rolling       Friday night pizzas,     we leave dough to rise   in a bowl on the hearth.

    A brick there: 1978.

Twenty years pass—

  it takes four men to carry     the chalkboard black [End Page 151]

  whale from the house         and heave it     by the road’s edge.

I’m almost a man   by then,     and help.     *

Rubbed with lard,     three coats, the layers   baked in the oven     at five hundred degrees.

        A woman I once knew       how to love cared     for the pan, she made   a gift of its gleam.

Worried about ruining it, I made   bacon three successive mornings—

    above the oven the blueblack bat       hangs by its wing.

    It shines when I wake,       and it shines while I sleep.

      Only then     do I forgive all   I’ve been given. [End Page 152]

Derek J.G. Williams

Derek J.G. Williams puts words into rows both long and short. He is an mfa candidate at UMass Boston. His poems are published or forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Salamander, H_NGM_N, The Cortland Review, and Best New Poets 2013, among others.



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pp. 151-152
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