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Leslie Williams

Leslie Williams is the author of Success of the Seed Plants (Bellday Books, 2010), winner of the Bellday Prize, and birdlife, winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition, and forthcoming in 2019 from Southern Illinois University Press. She is the recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Memorial Award, as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

By This Poet


Friend Shift

I’m trying to forgive my friend
who arrives like a bleeder
in an ambulance.

I should minimize
my exposure, as to a bad
virus or too much sun.

I’m always the shadow,
the “local talent,” sweeping
the floor, feting her

even when my new baby
had just come home.
I was gulping

cranberry ginger ales
in dazed thirst to restore
myself as she uncorked

another dark-green bottle,
put her thumb
in the deep punt

of the heavy bell-shaped
bottom, and poured herself
more red.