Three Poems by Spencer Williams


First, we learn to dance

Our bodies twist and coil like baby snakes squirming 
their way out from the cracks of eggshells

The sun dries the emptied yolk onto the gravel pavement
like a press-on tattoo—

and then the cycle of youth becomes logical—
temporary, yes, but the mark of birth still leaves a stain on the driveway

So we attempt to maneuver ourselves onto the front lawn
—tiny hearts beating slow, and our skin—still shiny, still new.

And there is still no reason to strike

No reason to strike at all






There are drops of                  red in the water

I like to                   choke until

the blood comes                   yes,

spoon-feed me                   the burn—

A                                   hungry                   throat

likes         to                 swallow

every       last        light        in        the        room






I was eating a cupcake at a Halloween party
—that night, everyone felt 
new in the skins they rented—braver and
not quite themselves
And still, I remember the hallway, 

How blonde haired and blue eyed he looked at me
Spoke in a hushed tone, the kind brimming with
static—he was dressed like a motorcycle gangbanger
with pull on sleeve tattoos and I remember 
feeling nervous
not afraid—just nervous

—and then—

                                                                  his tongue, wait, I wasn’t—
                                                                his tongue—spit—spit it out—


And still, I remember the hallway,
The plastic bats in the dark,
dozens of dancing feet
Mom came to get me at ten fifteen

my stomach—





Spencer Williams is from San Diego, California and is currently an undergraduate at the University of Iowa. One day he'll marry a Chipotle burrito.