Unto One of the Least of These by Stanley Miller Williams

With no one to talk to, he talked to the five fish
in a pond in the side yard in the shade of an oak—
Owen, Trudy, Trevor, Forrest, and Frederick,
the names beginning—this was his little joke—

the way the numbers one through five begin.
His wife had said he counted them every day
to see if the raccoon had eaten one.
He was only calling the roll. The fish had a way

of showing they knew he was there, the old preacher
come to share his parables again.
They took the bread he broke and never blinked,
no matter the stories he told, till he said, Amen.

If he immersed his fingers, they nibbled the tips
but never allowed his hands to comfort and bless.
That was all right. People had done the same.
As if he were deaf, he listened to read their lips,
told them to go, baptized in the watery name,
and believed in the skulking raccoon less and less.

From: Williams, Miller, Some Jazz a While: Collected Poems, 1999, University of Illinois Press: Chicago, p. 265.

Date: 1999

By: Stanley Miller Williams (1930-2015)

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