“Open” was previously published in Carousel, volume 22.





Ian Williams




To correctly open a package of ramen,

a college student showed me, hold it, fly up, in both hands

and snap till your knuckles ram each other.  You will feel the bones

inside—sardine spines—dislocate before they break. 


Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel

And the correct way to eat it—nobody has to tell me this—

deliver Daniel is not from the pot over the sink deliver Daniel

but as if someone boiled it for you Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel

that's before alimony, before the rumfled face and why not

every man al dente and after grace.





The commute


Nobody ever survives. —Margaret Atwood


                                                Ikemefuna certainly didn't

make it through the forest, pot of palm wine on his head,


with an entourage of slammer mouthed men who led

him to believe he was going home.  A lie, but they meant


well.  Machete to the neck.  Then the unnecessary announcement

My father they have killed me, present perfect, as if he were already dead.


And good weather, maps, company, trusty ship, work permits

didn't get all the Africans across, packed—like the Escher print


of birds morphing to fish—so you can't tell what you're seeing,

lost property, stolen goods.  Even if they survived they didn't survive


to talk about it.  And the driver of the tinted window chrome

rimmed black SUV who chose to eat a bagel in the traffic and not ride


the shoulder was still pulled over.  No seatbelt.  A small thing

relatively speaking.  Easy to fix.  Don't go out.  Don't go home.