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3 Poems by Dare Williams


A screaming world says

my body will always be a drain

I pierce a river and the day cracks

snow falls

on the windshield of the Chevrolet

my mother’s hair

I start the warning

from her warm belly I break

her water her watch

dangles from her tiny wrist

my father starts the car with a camera around his neck

inside I’m a little bud heating ice against my temples

a bone breaks as I move upward I’m turned then spent

mother pushes father snaps

I wasn’t just a boy I was a bill—


I am Lifted From the Loudest Part

The day opens

This golden bell

Two birds on a vessel

My neighbor sings in their kitchen

I am lifted from the loudest part

There is a place where I have kept secrets

Its micro-furs its soft skin

A forest of virtuous hairs

This quiet patch a breezeway

I am lifted from the loudest part

It hurts too much to bloom

This mighty cold chamber

This labor of risk this gateway

This shade this soil this dark cloud

I am lifted from the loudest part

I arrived alone

I admitted I am a body that wants

A horn is blowing out into the street

Like a prayer a poem rearranges

I am lifted from the loudest part

Come softly and gently put your light there

Show me how to move across this body

Hover there, hold me

Witness the way I bend as

I am lifted from the loudest part


The Meteorite is the Source of the Light But the Meteor is Just What we See

I like to lay beside you

as the world burns.

Is there a record you’d

like to hear?

When I was a child,


looking up,

always at faces


a battle between two heroes, humiliated.

I would build a home inside

that violence &

what then did I become?

A wall to climb over

to see green on the other side.

The doo wop, the dancing

golden summers,

fruit squishing through

my small hands.

I ate food

that had fallen

on soft wet grass.

I spent years

coasting this way.

I will stop at nothing

to feel

a soft breeze

on my shoulders,

my stomach when I sit down

your back

a billowing curtain.

This & more I am


the sky

forgiveness &

the song you picked,

an arrow sent from dark space.


A 2019 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, Dare Williams is a Queer HIV-positive poet, artist, rooted in Southern California. He has received fellowships from John Ashbury Home School and The Frost Place. He is a co-producer of the reading series Word of Mouth which raises money for communities facing food and nutrition inequities. Dare’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a two-time finalist for Blood Orange Review’s contest. His work has been anthologized in Redshift 5 by Arroyo Secco press and is featured in Cultural Weekly, Bending Genres, THRUSH, Exposition Review, and is forthcoming in Limp Wrist and elsewhere.

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