local_library After St. Helens

by William Hudson

Published in Issue No. 167 ~ April, 2011

After the damned thing blew

I went out on my front porch

And stared, morose, as grey, spiritless,

As these ash-coated surroundings I had

Once thought of as my neighborhood.

Grey. Corpse-grey. A smothering layer

Choking every surface, worming

Like some fibrous silicate into

Every crevice

And cutting off the affection I had

Come to feel for the place, like

An organism deprived of oxygen

Is squeezed of life.

I’ll have to leave, my overriding

I’ll have to leave. I like it here: the
house, the town,

But I can’t live like this—

And old Winnie, my old mongrel, nosed

Her way out the screen door

And sniffed around, then whined in

Protest at my heels. So, breathing

Through a handkerchief, I went to the

Yard and brought back the hose

And throttled the nozzle on full,

Blasting a spray out from my feet

And onto the steps, then down

The sidewalk, then out to clear

A space for Winnie to sniff and circle

And pee in,


And the space did clear,

And the widening circumference

Radiated green, green as the greenest

Shamrock ever imagined on the

Wettest, most stout-soaked

St. Paddy’s Day ever experienced.

And Winnie circled and went

About her business and was happy.

And I stood there on my

Porch, hose in hand, spray

Cranked on full,

Coloring-in the shrubs and the trees

And the rest of the porch

And house and created the neighborhood

Once again, in broad strokes

Across that grey canvas

And I, too, felt something

like happiness.

account_box More About

William Hudson was born in Arkansas, grew up there and in Illinois, lives now in Spokane, where he worked many years for a community action agency. He has appeared in The Caribbean Writer, HEArt Journal, Review Americana, DMQ Review, The View From Here, New Madrid Review, The Honey Land Review, Pif Magazine, The Other Journal, and elsewhere.