Three Poems
poems by William L. Alton

The Scrape of Whiskers

He sits out in the living room, gray, waxy looking, eyes red and swollen.

She had a baby boy last night, he says. It was too soon. It wasn’t viable. She’ll be home tomorrow. Be nice.

I can hear the scrape of his whiskers across his palms.


She Never Knew

She never knew I was there when I held her little unmade body against my chest, our hearts beating together for just a second and rocked her through the darkness that never left her eyes.

To her, all was nothing and it had no meaning.

She was frail and weak, never crawled on the floor, or wrestled, or laughed with the abandonment of her brothers who came so many years later.



Graveward we carried her on our shoulders.
Too young to die a proper death, she passed with grace, this child did.
Broken somehow in the hand of God.
Crawling the westering road, narrow, stretched shadow heading back to omphalos, a sphinx of yesterday and today.
She carried a burden of life With her to Kali Ma.
Spun from the chaos of Ereshkeigal’s thighs, always maid, never mother, never crone.
Still birth blood blessed When the Ban-Sidhe screamed.
Clio never learned her name, nor her face, nor felt the touch of her tiny hands.
Time barely brushed her with its chill passing before she stirred back into the Cauldron.




A teacher, actor, writer and artist, William Alton now lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and three sons. His works has appeared in 12th Planet and The Pacific Review. He has recently published a memoir titled Crawling Out of My Skin.

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