This is what happens when you’re drowning
in a sea of lies.
James Clapper, Former Director of National Intelligence
My friend Jack was ten years old that spring,
the night before the annual burgoo picnic
that his father’s club put on. Jack watched
the men toss beef, chicken legs, and pork
into a simmering outdoor pot hanging
on a spit above a fire. Two gutted rabbits,
a flank of deer. Potatoes, black beans,
lima beans, red peppers, and onions. After dark,
the men went inside to play cards and shoot pool.
“There was beer involved,” Jack said. All night,
the men took turns to go outside and stir
while Jack slept in a corner of the coat room. At five
the next morning, Jack’s dad woke him.
“I’m on a winning streak,” his father said.
Go outside and stir for me.”
Jack said that it smelled good. And heat
from the fire felt good, too, as smoke
rose into the trees above him. By six,
the sun was up. Jack could see what he was stirring,
a mix of burgoo and catalpa worms, fallen from the trees
and writhing in the stew. In fear
the men would blame him, Jack kept stirring,
watching as the worms dissolved. “Fine,”
Jack said when his dad joined him by the fire
and asked how things were going.
“That was the hardest lie of my life,” Jack told me.
“After that, they got easier with each one.”
The poems of Mark Williams have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Rattle, New Ohio Review, and the anthologies, New Poetry From the Midwest, and The Sixty-Four. He has made several appearances in Poets Reading the News.
Photo of Donald Trump via his official Instagram.