In a Dark Village
porch lights come on as we near —
a stranger into the strangeness,
accepting us as we are — then
we pass — and the houses feel
like rejected lovers
wondering why we did not choose them
and the village darkens like a heart,
hiding pain, hoping
the prodigal child had returned —
and it does not matter
if we were born there or not —
what matters is the village cared
and its offer of forgiveness
was generous, its promise
was obtainable love, and
we had rejected it out of hand,
never taking the time for courtship
or camaraderie or penance —
we don’t know what we’re missing
because we were not listening
or open to change
or feel unworthy of such compassion —
if we are smart, we will head back.
Dylan Thomas in the Dark
Under the ash tree, he smokes
down to ash
letting stars out of his chest.
He is not from the neighborhood of known.
It is as if he was not ever there
among the row houses or the breeze.
I thought I saw him,
his hair curly with ash leaves,
but it must have been my imagination.
Among silence and lack of wind,
the man I saw was never there,
but I feel his whistling in my bones.
Martin Willitts Jr is the winner of 2014 International Dylan Thomas Poetry Award. He has over 20 chapbooks and 8 full length collections of poetry including forthcoming “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press), and “God Is Not Amused With What You Are Doing In Her Name” (Aldrich Press).