Save As Water
Tyrone Williams



                                        “the meeting-place of two seas.”



For the desert nomads


oasis is a place-


holder for the placelessness


of paradise, exclusive


rights to stay the middle


of nowhere where the prose


flowing underground


and the light verse


falling from above


rhyme the garden green


with red hyacinths


for the travelers tempted


to move on, temples


beneath their tents.


                                  A body


of water, a body of land,


echo of the mute


barrier between the calls


to prayer for the necks


bending back to look


up at islands rising


into a blank sky


level with the ground


on which one kneels to wash


the body with sand.


                                 For Set


drives the waters back


to heaven, desert storms,


stirred up by Seth,


annihilate the alien


akin to the prophet,


Setekh, turning his face


away to save his servant,


as Setesh, the face


always in, as the, back


of the head, slowly revolves


into view, confounding




            The fires too


are forged in bodies of water


preserved in salt, fires


that will never slake


the thirst of temples, much


less bodies driven


by fire, by thirst,


for water, land and bodies,


for rest always


blocked by the grave,


the crypt that entombs,


enwombs, a world to come


with new bodies


forged in the likeness


of earth, largely water.




Tyrone Williams teaches literature and theory at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of several chapbooks and five books of poetry: c.c., On Spec, The Hero Project of the Century, Adventures of Pi and Howell. A limited-edition art project, Trump l’oeil, was published by Hostile Books in 2017. A new book of poetry is forthcoming from Omindawn Publishing, Inc. in fall 2018.