Alison Williams







Working to home


Cesar Ramos carpenter

and bunkbed put-er together-er,

a new apartment by the water

boats bobbing

in the surrounding harbor.


Grandma Scotch and her 90th

birthday coming up,

complaints of missing invitations,

there are not answers

when the post goes gone and besides

she sees the uninvited invitees every day

just ask just say can’t say won’t say

mustn’t be rude, mustn’t speak

outside the box or lean in too far.


San Diego, theory, women’s work

the articulation of complex words

and the ineptitude of history

pro-gress, no-gress

but I digress.


The thickness of too much nothing.

California bungalow, sunporch

river rock surrounded by the scent

of orange blossoms and an echo

of the gong sounded by Krishnamurti

himself. One day quiet

under an oak in my own





Evolving the cinquain

(because Kim suggested it)




She was

abstract before

the animal paintings

came to her. Now she wonders what

she is.





the animals

came she wondered what she

was. Now she is the abstract of






the abstract the

animals came to her.

Now she wonders if what she is

she was.






Upstream in pause, haunches to boulder,

I sit facing water flowing over dusty bleached carcasses,

arid stones, sodden drunk and dazed from

the era of parched drought.


Ascetic in nature,

stalwart in commitment to the ground,

white faces of the survivors stare up to the sun,

partially submerged.


The water floods

over powder-caked bones, stripping clean,

particle by particle, vestiges of sun-baked dirt,

the sand of soot and ashes, vestiges of the ritual

dance for rain.


Unreliant on water,

carrier of lineages, vessel and pathway, awaiting purpose,

vein of life from seeping rain-flooded caverns

deep on high mountains, threading to sea.


I am animal as well as stone,

vegetable, mineral, fire, ether, water itself,

drawn by hunch and instinct to rippling sound

and wet metallic smell to drink deep and steady to the change

from dust to drowning.


I want to wade to the center,

lay down with my buff- and dun-colored siblings,

and stare, submerged but for face and breath,

blind with legiance at the sun.












Alison Williams is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Anastamos, Chapman University’s interdisciplinary journal.  Her reviews and interviews have been featured in World Literature Today and Not Impossible, and she is a reader for the poetry journal Tabula Poetica.  Her interview series Storytellers is a collection of multi-media talks with various creative and innovative minds.  Alison is currently in the MFA Creative Writing/MA English program at Chapman University. 



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