kristine sorum-williams

On a Tuesday, Walking to the Red Line

Vietnamese all up and down 
Argyle street,
​I watch this woman daily,
a quick walk-by to the train. 
Her and her working gloves;
a flurry of hands. 
​And these hunks of wire-
grates from the shop windows-
everyday, the same time,
​coming down in your able grasp
just as I am on my way,
and I marvel at your timeliness; 
your shining black hair;
​your unsung grace.  

Things I Don't Understand

i.     how you became mine.     
                how the sweat of your handprints is ingrained  
                in my sister’s memory;        
                          how there was never a wedding.         

              As the bridegroom to his chosen,    
               As the king unto his realm,    
              As keep unto the castle,  
              As the pilot to the helm,    

ii.    how your mother fit in.     
                how a Sunday became Church    
                at the end of a seven-day week,        
                           one of us as God.     

               God’s eye to the window again.    

               As the ruby in the setting,    
                As the honey in the comb,    
               As the light within the lantern,    
               As the father in the home    

iii.    how it was always Church.    
             how it became stifling    
             but still I rifled through the hymnal    
             pages to find you.         

             As the fountain in the garden,    
              As the candle in the dark,  
             As the treasure in the coffer,  
             As the manna in the ark,

iv.     that i was once a penny candy    
                on my knees;    
                that I was once a long walk and a     
                foiled commencement.    

               As the sunshine in the heavens,    
                As the image in the glass,    
               As the fruits upon the fig tree,  
              As the dew upon the grass,    

         how all that is null  
         because I saw you with her    
         through a train car window.     

         So, Lord, art Thou to me


There is this constant heaviness;     

​           damp snow     
           around your eyes. 
Have we forgotten sorrow? 
I had rather hoped we had 
captured it at its apex, hung like slabs of 
meat from heavy hooks, aching, sagging in the sun.
 Or grabbed it, blubbering from our lips,
 the flesh at the backs of animal necks,
 where their mothers hold them in their jaws; 
a secondary pause. The space between our
shoulder blades,  
the knowing and not knowing- 
of ever letting go.

Kristine Sorum-Williams is a Chicago native and typewriter-hoarder. She sings and plays tambourine in a folk band when she is not writing poetry, though sometimes both occur simultaneously.


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