July 2014 Sestinas
Martin Willitts Jr is the winner of the 2012 Big River Poetry Review's William K. Hathaway Award ; co-winner of the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; winner of the 2013 'Trees' Poetry Contest; winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest. He has five full-length collections, including national ecological contest winner Searching for What Is Not There (Hiraeth Press, 2013) and 28 poetry chapbooks, including contest winner, William Blake, Not Blessed Angel But Restless Man (Red Ochre Press, 2014).
At first they tentatively tap ice with a broom stick end.
When it reverberates like glass struck.
shivering with clear water under, it is ready to walk on.
They deal with disbelief and respect,
expecting it to break with a kind of suddenness.
They tip-toe—like less weight,
less pressure, less likely to break; too much weight.
they will fall like dominoes into the lake. An end
they do not speak about. It is all about suddenness.
There are no words for fear; their words are struck
in their throats like fish hooks. They have no respect
for the man bringing an ice house with a heater on.
He is voted most-likely to fall in. They step on
with fishing polls, saws. Belief of fish is a weight
worth lifting. They pull chain saws with no respect
to closeness or danger. They continue to no good end.
It sounds like angry bees when their hive is struck.
Then the noise stops in a suddenness.
They drop lines into the holes, wait for suddenness,
saying, any minute now. The wait goes on
and on. They wonder if their fishing lines struck.
Geese honk and ice cracks from that weight.
Someone has a good idea it is time for fishing to end.
They lose all confidence and self-respect.
Someone slips walking, the ice splits without respect.
Now they are running like race horses in suddenness.
The man pulls his heated shack towards land?s end.
The ice sinks until there is nothing to stand on.
They try to decide what caused the extra weight.
With a sound like buzz saws, their decision is struck.
Blows are about to be struck.
They threaten with their fists to teach respect.
Someone blames the ice house for that weight.
Their voices rise to a climatic suddenness.
A silence like geese flies on.
Someone says, it could have been us in the end.
They leave, struck ashamed, in suddenness,
losing respect for themselves, blame moving on,
a weight cursing like honking geese to a silent end.