» Poetry


After Jim Harrison


On this excursion my hands were folded,

I tried not to see anything, didn’t pick up the pole,

let him do all the work, he took every turn

for the both of us—promising I would be amazed

at any moment, soon enough, and I fucking doubt it

I replied, wanting something more from my time,

as though each of my moments were precious

and meant to be filled with golden sap, we,

through mangrove canals where pregnant

wolf spiders ran their fingers through my hair,

and blackened crabs climbed from root to root,

the water moved past our boat like soft hands

swimming in still water, paddled toward the sunset

when two boar, nose-to-tail, took to the water to cross

from shore to shore oblivious of us one way or another

and now is a good time to define what our time is worth.



This poem originally appeared in our 46.2 issue, and was a runner-up for The Florida Review‘s 2022 Humboldt Poetry Prize.

Prize judge David Keplinger’s citation: “On a miserable excursion through mangrove canals, rife with crabs and spiders, what seems a resistant young person sits with hands folded as an older figure tries to amaze and awaken them; and they do; they do awaken to the worth of this moment with its boars crossing the shore “oblivious of us” in that instant of marvelous connection with the natural world.”


Cole W. Williams

Cole W. Williams is a poet, essayist, and hybrid writer. Recent works are featured with North Dakota Quarterly, Ran Off with the Star Bassoon, Water Stone Review, Eastern Iowa Review, Xinachtli Journal, and other journals. Williams attended the 2022 Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference.