Meeah Williams

Premonition.There was a squirrel on the porch this morningand I put my brush down to watchit watching what—I didn’t knowand could only guess.The leaves were falling, yellowas baited mousetraps,and maybe it was watching them,but it was the squirrel that held my attention,it’s great buff tailtacking the sun in twitchesstoring warmth like a solar panelwinter bearing down,it’s little pawshanging emptyabove its soft white belly;it was watching what I couldn’t seeor so I fancied,all the inconsequential little sounds,shifts in atmospherethat cause the dice to roll one way or another,the cat-slink beneath the bushes,the fall of an acornhalfway down the block,the touch of my lashesbehind the sun-struck window as I blinkedand dashed it away. Second Coming.I always see him with a dog,a mid-sized dogof indeterminate breed,not a border collie,but something like that,short-haired, though.I see him doing stand-upat a third-rate comedy clubin a Hoboken strip mallthe room is never more than one-third full;he’s textbookat handling hecklers.I see him waiting out his time on death row,gaining weight, going gray;he never files an appeal,never claims he didn’t do itdoesn’t pen a memoir;his crime is unspeakable;when the day comeshe’ll refuse a last meal,speak no last words.When I picture him back from the deadhe’s an old man on a bicycleriding a tottering linea loaf of bread under his arm;he’s a Chinese guy collecting plastic emptieson a winter street;the homeless wreckpropping himself against a fire hydrantto vomit in the gutterHe’s that old woman picking her wayover the busted-up sidewalkon Nostrand Avenuethe wind fluffing her cinnamon-colored hairrevealing a bald spot. Waiting to Walk Before I wrote this I wrote a whole bunch of stuffbut I crossed it all outbecause it failed to get at what I reallywanted to say— Which is what? Something about you, I guess,how I dreamed about us being in a Barnes & Noble bookstorelooking for a book you wantedbut the stairs going to the lower level where the book was shelvedwere severed, like in an earthquake,and you had to jump down a considerable wayonto a broken up, rubble-strewn floorand how I couldn’t believe the store would let anyone do such a thing,weren’t they scared of someone getting hurt, being sued, etc,but when I turned to say this,you had already disappearedand after looking around franticallyand even overcoming my crippling shyness to shout our your name,crying in front of everyone like a pitiful child,I knew you were gone for good & I’d never see you again. Well, you can see why I crossed outwhat I wroteand tried again and you can seethat this time it’s not too good eitherbut I’m not crossing it out this time because if I doI’ll only end up trying again and againuntil I get it right which I know by nowwill be never.So this will have to do,and, besides, my toenails are dry,so I can move on. Meeah Williams is a writer and graphic artist. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, Hank.