Posts Tagged ‘William Kelley Woolfitt’

Seeds and Stars

December 20, 2011 Comments off

by William Kelley Woolfitt

Charles de Foucauld, 1906: Tamanrasset, Hoggar, Algeria

My friends charm wells,
gather dates, store faith
in seed-speck, tiny bulb,
tuber eye, farm
the parched, unarable.
Scab-lipped, slur-bearers,

they keep secret,
their true name,
forcing me to say
“Haratin”—dark, dirty, foul.
They gnaw gluey camel,

stringy horse—even bowel,
even hoof, Dassine insists.
They till precious dung, peddle
scrawny vegetables, unwashed,
to Tuareg buyers who point,
back away, dare not touch.

Offspring of freed slaves,
they could go anywhere,
but stay—as do I.
Nights here spur me
to praise the God
of desert skies,

starred with the blinking
eyes of my dead ones,
sheltered by God’s
sickle-shaped wings,
living on without toil,
or ache.

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William Kelley Woolfitt (website) is the author of short stories, poems, and essays that have appeared or are forthcoming in Shenandoah, Cincinnati Review, Ninth Letter, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere.  Poems from his completed book-length sequence, Words for Flesh: a Spiritual Autobiography of Charles de Foucauld, have been published in Christianity and Literature, Salamander, Rhino, Pilgrimage, and Nimrod. He has worked as a summer camp counselor, bookseller, ballpark peanuts vendor, and teacher of computer literacy to senior citizens.  He goes walking on the Appalachian Trail or at his grandparents’ farm (near Kasson, West Virginia) whenever he can.

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