The poet Miller Williams died on the first day of 2015. I had not been familiar with his poetry, though I knew of the book he co-authored, How Does a Poem Mean? As I browsed some of his works I came upon this one that I liked right away.
Love and How It Becomes Important in Our Day to Day Lives
The man who tells you which is the whiter wash,
the woman who talks about her paper towels,
the woman whose coffee holds her home together,
the man who smells the air in his neighbor’s house,
the man who sings a song about his socks,
the woman who tells how well her napkin fits,
the man who sells the four-way slicer-dicer,
the woman who crosses tape between her tits,
and scores besides trample my yard, a mob
demanding to be let in, like Sodomites
yelling to get at my guests but I have no guests.
I crawl across the floor and cut the lights.
“We know you’re in there,” they say. “Open the door.”
“Who are you?” I say. “What do you want with me?”
“What does it matter?” they say. “You’ll let us in.
Everyone lets us in. You’ll see. You’ll see.”
The chest against the door begins to give.
I settle against a wall. A window breaks.
I cradle a gun in the crook of my elbow.
I hear the porch collapse. The whole house shakes.
Then comes my wife as if to wake me up,
a case of ammunition in her arms.
She settles herself against the wall beside me.
“The towns are gone,” she says. “They’re taking the farms.”