The Student-Run Newspaper of Williams College Since 1887

my back is dreaming of rain – Ethan Richmond

March 15, 2022



white skies everywhere

all the time they grown softly

wanting, unflushed

weary, unblue

i notice their quiet despair

in the jingling

in the corner,

over there

at least in blue you chew

before you spit

at least you can taste the air

heavy and bleeding out of your tongue

the color hidden behind 

nothing swallows

and i do too

standing alone to observe 

how wisdom makes the mind a killer

makes the mind a body

makes you cold

makes you unmake yourself

flesh shifting outside of skin

so the body itself becomes a shield

a sky

with nothing to hide but nothing to say

except: will i always feel



like this?

always like this

like winter

an empty womb stretching and cracking 

into the scraped out dying branch of a tree 

trying to hold on

like this,



there i am



i am there in the damp dark


and still

but still

strained dry

stained skies threaten tears

their scars like pleated clouds

i want to rip out their seams with my teeth so they can scream




the empty sound washes up on me

a bay

shifting its eyes

its weight from one foot to the other

and i begin the practiced procedure 

of reconstruction

    (of what?)

of day



the drag through the living

life, it seems, a drawn out inhalation that searches for burning

lungs, held breath through that sea of slow burns

peeves and people and picturesque bores

burrowing their way into unfocused irises

overager to get it over with

holding width open just enough to get through

and back to bed i dream of you, blue

i dream, dead, all day and wake into your palm when i close my eyes

a lullaby sighs and: smoke




snowfall harsh

and majestic animal of mountain

caught between myth and mouth 


hold me softly with your teeth

i am break

ing closed

come springing with your quiet company

beating bloody in my ear

i am fallingwater

breathe me in even if it burns

bone and shivering sentiment

come home

back to me and our shadow spaces

the light leaves 

you lonely


crawling across the wall

water falling in my dreams you are always there

in my dreams you come


pine trees holding on a little longer and me

noticing the taste of my tongue

and the cold air eating my breath

on the glass

an appetite, half empty, damp and reused

i wake into the nauseous hunger of winter

alone with the white noise telling me its secrets

telling me to come

to put my bare skin on its face

to hold it against my blueing body

clad in me



i wonder aloud permission to die here

clouds race beneath a crashing sun

going (where?)

going (why?)




how awfully bland

how terribly sad


is it that skin does break or give up or in or way

but it falls, yes

away and anyway

it falls

dripping in the heat of gravity

a reach like sweat for the earth


it clings

i know for i am

a student of my own nature

you must be when so often

alone your senses will eat themselves with nothing else to taste



but it is in skin that i find stain

when i am maudlin in black moon breath

that i glean the sorrow of the day

and with steady hands i swallow with a shiver

them back into cuts that i can widen into a pity

i do not care to admit exists for my own body

how it’s burdened with disconnection





and yet each time i am taken by surprise

each time

when tears finally tear 

me open

me, open

like this

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