If Plates are Shirts are Milk Jugs – by Evan Williams

then it’s dawn or dusk or
some other time of dark
and you can hear him on the stairs
in the hallway in the kitchen—
hear him moving plates around
fixing something bitter
to your taste buds like coffee

without sugar and you’re tired
under the fleece of morning or earlier
or whatever time of dark this is
when he steps out the screen door
grabbing the grass with his boots
taking hold of the hinges hugging it shut

quietly. You hear him beneath your window
walking away and you pray on your knees
in the dark of this time that
he’s coming back. Or you pray

on your elbows that he’s leaving
but you can’t tell at this time of dark
when he walks through the gravel driveway
toward the cows or the road
for a split-second you hear him
choose the road;
you never heard him pack a bag in the kitchen
unless plates are shirts maybe
he did and dark sounds fooled
half-awake brains into smelling bacon as bitter—
sweet? Maybe

plates that are shirts are milk jars. Maybe
they’re neither and really are just plates. Maybe
it’s just impossible to tell at this time of dark.

Evan Williams is a freshman at the University of Chicago. He is incapable of winding up a hose, and often burns himself while lighting candles.

Photographer’s Note: What an incredible title and line and poem. This photo started as a plate covered by fried eggs.