Acres of Sleeping
When grandfather’s hands shook,
dropping his blacksmith hammer
like an exclamation point
when his heart attacked him.
Now his spirit walked down uneven
cellar stairs parting spider webs
space between their crosscurrents.
He had a horse’s nostrils of fear.
Now there were fields, acres of sleeping,
death finger-spelling his name.
In that last music, blue flies were on the floor
not stirring, their wings trying for a beat.
Afterwards, I tried to lift that hammer.
It weighed less than a seed,
less than a chilled horse’s breath
feathery to the touch.
No Language but Its Own Absence
There always is a zip of breeze in a mane.
Bluestems always bend in reverence.
Prayer hands are found on Praying Mantis
blending easily with their khaki green.
The hollow of wind is in a bird’s bones.
In the webbing between your fingers,
that fleshy part that seems to have no name,
see distant mountains
where the dead stride like a wild horse
speaking no language but its own absence.
Zero in on the intersection in your palm.
Notice it until you can’t see straight anymore.
Focus until your eyes are hammering on anvils.
Wait for the sparks to fly.
When the sparks head for south for wintering,
you’ve waited long enough.
If a message appears from the dead
in the center of your palm,
and if it spells your name on your lips,
then you’ve gone too far.
Prayer will no longer save you,
you are in different hands.
The same hands that guided Da Vinci.
The same hands that feel in darkness
towards impractical light.
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).