Derek JG Williams

Heat Lightning
December 18, 2023 Williams Derek JG

Heat Lightning


Before the fireflies and whiskey
reveal their elemental glow,
a rippling cord divides sky from sky.
The halves surge and flash
separately. Match them
together: they fit the forms they create—
absence—silence—darkness bowing
above us, temporary summer
strumming thunder.
We sit on a crooked porch, hoping
to be released from the heat.
Sheets of rain will fall.
The late season’s blood
pounds in our ears. We want
the mountains again,
where we ran through streets
soaked by a sudden storm
and watched meteors steer the night.
We want to move, to dance,
but the rain won’t come.
So upstairs to the cool
shade of the bed; we undress it,
pull the covers back. Our layers pulled off
—sky by sky we meet.
Neither of us believes in God,
but I trust your hand
in mine, your body next to mine,
begging the form it longs for.


Derek JG Williams is an American writer and the author of Poetry Is a Disease (Greying Ghost Press 2022). He holds a doctorate in English and Creative Writing from Ohio University, and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts. His poems and prose are published or forthcoming in Pleiades, Banshee, Salamander, Best New Poets, Prairie Schooner, DIAGRAM, and Bear Review, among others. He lives in Germany with his wife and dog. Learn more about him at