"Be Honest"

"Be Honest"

"Be Honest"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Nov. 13 2001 2:32 PM

Be Honest

Listen to poem audio here.

The phone rang after 11 p.m.; past clearing dishes
I was naked under a throw, crocheting, obsessed with who was
trying to reach me from a noisy bar. The call was from L.A., hello?
Wanted to say a name. But no, he's dead,

dead yesterday, in a bathroom three time zones
away. Glassine envelope, head to lip of a pedestal sink. His face
in the obit is so various; aloof and wounded, deep-running-
water-still. Oh so easy on the eyes. The way he wore
a shirt, the only one of them who could be counted
on. The kind of man (calling him man a quiver, a sting)

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to solve me. How to say burning? I was timbers, a house
on stilts. On Woods Hole's obfuscated wharf, a desperateness; be
honest. He said the Rosa rugosa near the ferry had fighting
leaves, a sudden toughness in its hips. I'll make lunch
(tomato soup, a sandwich) and leave it by the dock

because I could never be
an actor, waiting for my cue, while gorgeous stormcloud
morning shades do layer in like oil. This kind of hot,
a thunderstorm incipient. A solar wind.

Leslie Williams' poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Salmagundi, Shenandoah, and the Southern Review, among other journals. She recently completed her first book manuscript of poems, A Rapt Geography.