William Kelley Woolfitt

William Kelley Woolfitt teaches creative writing and American literature at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. He is the author of two forthcoming chapbooks: em(poetry), co-winner of the Keystone Prize, and The Boy with Fire in His Mouth (fiction), winner of the Epiphany Editions contest. His poems and stories appear in Shenandoah, Michigan Quarterly Review, Threepenny Review, New Ohio Review, Appalachian Heritage, The Cincinnati Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Ninth Letter, River Styx, Virginia Quarterly Review’s Instapoetry Series, and elsewhere.

Blaze White, Iris Black
excerpt from the poem

“I was writing to save my life as I knew it could be.” ~ Irene McKinney

At 29, I had moved to snow country.
I should have feared the meager
air that frosts eyebrows and breaths,
the flattery, the rationed invitation.

I meant to spell my friends, and solder
my life to theirs, and feast with them
on roasted game, ales, and currant bread.
My life dwindled in the room of drafts

and scribbled pages. If I spoke,
it was to admire freeze-frame. If I ate,
it was to chew splinter match. I made much
of drifted blanks and low blue flame.

I kept refusing dry mouth and flakes of skin;
I called my hands good, and they were good. ...

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