Fall Poetry 2016: Honorable Mention, “Left Alone” by M. Drew Williams

We had an enormous number of excellent submissions for our Fall Poetry 2016 Contest, which gave us the delightful opportunity to name several Honorable Mentions. We are excited to present one of these Honorable Mentions, which are in no particular order. Please enjoy!

Left Alone


I doubled back across the dirt-brown water 
to join my brother a bit downstream where 
he’d washed up at the bend, his quivering frame 


splayed upon a smooth palette of wet shale. 
His tibia bobbed garishly in the open air, 
no longer sheathed in flesh. With his consent 
I thumbed the bone back into place,   


pushing it with some resistance into a pocket 
of frayed muscle, his pink expression tensing. 
I crafted a splint from two sturdy lengths 
of salvaged bark, cinching them astride 


the lesion with shirt sleeves, long and seam-torn. 
We heard the leg crackling as we crept together 
in torturous increments up each shallow hill, 


his weight slumping over me as we struggled. 
When we reached the house, our father 
met us in the yard, shoving me aside 
to rush my brother to the doctor. Left alone, 


I sat against the woodpile, letting the strips 
of split-birch prod my spine, questioning 
if I should’ve left my brother back at the river. 


M. Drew Williams currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska. His poetry has appeared in publications such as DIALOGIST and Literary Orphans. He is the author of the chapbook No Ghost Goes Unnoticed (Leaf Garden Press, 2016). He is an MFA candidate at Creighton University. 

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