Ward Abel poetry

These poems are excerpted from Ward’s new book, Little Town gods. Read a review of the book here.


Low Water

Outshoal slim
a black butterfly with
blue patches navigates
around our toiling
waning days under
ceiling fans, a world
non compos mentis
and in decline.

No use trying to convince
me against gathering
my own locusts
to combat the shade
crossing the Atlantic
from the left shoulder of Africa
every two dozen hours,
outshoal. Slow.

We hear October’s voice
though what she says
sounds scrambled in a star-
burst of clear blue dry
patches fall sky,
and it moves shallow
dragonfly ridge clear eye
and it moves.

Outshoal soul
dry rocks in a cloudburst
wild and scenic and under,
ground to nothing a powder
put in hot drinks
stirred combined ingested
and spat in a ritual
I’d thought we’d forgotten.

Meriwether County

The gray cotton three quarters above
is bolstered by pinkish lines that, way down,
meet the ground to the south of here
but coming this direction from Alvaton
and Greenville. There are words in the
burning bushes along 85, strong and low
and with authority; they speak from  rote
about boundaries and wrongs and truth
and things in hibernation. The Levites
cleared the way across 362 where churches
and dirt roads defy GPS.
Such is the me in it—scarred
to the point of smoothness, of negation.
Exactly unequal.  Perfect in opposition.
Blind in the vivid.