William Pruitt


Sticks and stones can break your bones
But words can mess up your rhythm,

Thunderstorm wakens me at night’s end.
Thinnest phantom flag in foggy dawn is
All I see of Point Judith Sound.

Split shingle houses with geranium window boxes
Throng affluent shore to watch coastline disappear
Only a single outboard engine tells us ocean’s there

Somewhere, someone knows a
Delphinium from a blue phlox
But not here

I have come to edge of land to hear
The call of mourning doves in a cloud which
Blake sings will one day vanish

There will be a Golden Tent
Around which children will be dancing

And I won’t know which one is me


Crow and Moon (Not Shown)

The soft rain that patters briefly
on my deck umbrella at dawn was
eons in the making. In fact,
its origins go back to when the moon was made,
the same time this moist breeze,
riffling the top of the silver maple
which stands over me like
the tallest mountain, began.

Crow flies through this rain speaking to me
he finds a tree to land on

“I don’t think you’ve heard this before.”

“I won’t say it again.”



Some have stopped caring, some say it's a joke,
the way mother plays
peek-a-boo, then goes away forever.
Some lean a ladder of belief against
that place she disappeared
and feel it steady, or shrug off
whether it is steady or not.

You may think you have your own little corner
especially if you live near streets and intersections
You may think sinister controlling agents turn
the wheel, and it's only a matter of time before
the earth is covered with concrete and stillness and
masks and it doesn't matter if the mask
is smiling or frowning it's a mask, but then perhaps

you also believe time is a big familiar arch you live under?
That you are fixed in place by your genes and credit rating and coordinates?
That the tree falls silent in the empty forest?
(What tree? What forest?)
That an ending is anything more
than someone’s decision to stop?

None of these things is true
but all of them
are easier to accept
than the meandering parade
everybody’s in that stretches to the horizon


William Pruitt

My meditative practice is daily tai chi and a single mantra/koan which I have assembled on 5x7 cards from various sources. For example, yesterday's was: “Seeing what is, nothing wonderful about it, is the great wonder.” Today's is “The further one breaks into the region of origins, the deeper that region becomes.” 

I'm a fiction writer, storyteller, poet, and assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. My stories appear in Indiana Voice Journal, Adelaide Literary Review, Oyster River Pages, Sick Lit, Crack of the Spine Literary Magazine, Visitant, Midway and Hypertext. I have published poems in such places as Ploughshares, Anderbo.com and Cottonwood, and in recent issues of Off Course, Otis Nebula, Stone Boat, Steel Toe Review and Literary Juice; two chapbooks with White Pine and FootHills; and the self-published Walking Home from the Eastman House. I have told stories in hundreds of places in Rochester and upstate New York, including the National Women’s Hall of Fame. 

More on William Pruitt’s work can be found on our Links page.

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