Martin readMartin Willitts Jr is a Librarian. He won the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; 2014 Broadsided award; 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest; and, Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has 11 full-length collections including “God Is Not Amused with What You Are Doing in Her Name” (Aldrich Press, 2015), “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016).

On the Edge of Mourning

circumstances in the distance
could make a heart smaller
already it is tempestuous as memory
it must be the longing

I forget I am despairing
the light is shifting away
and stuns my heart with the cadence
of snow as it softens on grass

they say that what annihilates also restores
we are either in the endlessness
seeking the way out of darkness
or we are finding abundance

the first time we are separated
from this world is when they cut
the umbilical cord and the second time
is when we no longer believe

When Light Reaches Us

in all of eternity not even the stars are forever
when a star dies unimaginably distances away
it takes thousands of years for the message
of their passing to reach us

in Amish country the news of death
takes long to reach us by horse and buggy
you hear the horse clip clop on gravel
before the news hitches to a fence post

a man’s face has the harshness written on it
you can feel the weight of his responsibility
he had time to compose this bad news
it is clear on his face as pockmarks on a moon

he has time and distance invested in silence
to contemplate an answer that God’s intention
for us to die is not arbitrary but it is in fact
written into everywhere if we look and see it

it is in every face every heart every plant
every animal in the land in air even in grief
light reaches us from far or near
from the hard-driven sun or from lamplight

or fireplace or faraway constellations
to every place touched and listening
like a horse listens for commands
the Amish would take that weight and recognize it

for what it is, then take that awful responsibility
and reflect on it in silence to consider it
like a scientist investigates a star exploding
all distance is relative when it is death or light

Weather Comes Colder Fast

among trees morning comes colder
its reputation precedes it
it discontinues all conversation

my dreams wanted this morning
to be different
we never get what we want
we get what we need

to think
we had anything to do with how the sun
moves in the sky
is pure nonsense

a fern can chase after light and heat
and it knows when it has run out of both
it folds over and allows nature to take it
the fern does not demand more time
or a second chance

light shortens as it falls away

all light filters down through tree branches
to bring out more green light to give to the fern