William John Watkins was a member of the founding faculty at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey from he recently retired. He has published more than 500 poems and over 100 stories in such magazines as Rhino, South Carolina Review, Hellas, Asimov’s, Cosmopolitan, and Commonweal. A sonnet, "Wife of My Youth, Look Back, Look Back", won the 1994 Hellas Award. A short story, "Beggar in the Living Room", was a Nebula Award finalist, and the poem "We Die as Angels and Come Back as Men" won the 2002 Rhysling Award. Hobbies are racing motorcycles off road with his son, Chad, and teaching himself to draw realistically.
This is a strange place; roads in long, straight lines,
hay in giant blanket rolls; like a dream,
blowing steadily, even with no sign
but the mill's horizontal plume of steam
gray white on a blue gray sky, the wind, which
blows even indoors and never stops. Cold,
whose gradient crosses the wind's, whose pitch
is higher, sharper, steadier, unfolds
in deeper rolling waves. Shivering swine
in roadside lean-to's; in the fields' straight seams,
thin, brown, brittle trees, down in the creek's ditch,
tufting the rise, anywhere they can hold
against winter's high plains jeremiad,
that mournful windsong that drove settlers mad.
Copyright © 2011. William John Watkins. All rights reserved.