Jess Williard


Jets and their silent contrails
are pulled across the afternoon

like small white plows.
We’re so late in the season

that the fruit has all turned
or been taken. So we walk

the rows of barren trees,
take steps along avenues

cobbled in rotten hulls, soft
and souring matter. How in love

with everything I am.
And without the words

to know it, which means to be
without debt. And later, chasing

Ellie through the corn maze,
each bend brings another

thatched corridor swayed
in her wake. She will let me

catch her. It begins like this.
When I get there I won’t know

what to say, or how I’m so many
years from causing the damage

that will teach me.

Jess Williard

has contributed to The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, North American Review, New Orleans Review, Southern Humanities Review, Third Coast, Oxford Poetry, and other journals. He is from Wisconsin.