My truck broke down in Nashville, and my coins
Would not have bought a slice of cherry pie;
I hitched a pickup ride to cool Des Moines
And shaved some vagrants in a poker dive.

Claire loved me well, or so she said, until
She left me for an Elvis lookalike;
He had the sneer, the sequins, boots and pills,
And he could croon a love song to a mike.

When I recall her round red Irish face,
I want to sock his nose and watch him bleed:
He never understood his proper place
And never did respect a man in need.

Cards I control: I deal them low or high:
I wish I had not let that love slip by.




Light bulbs talk back to MimiLou,
Who counts and skips the sidewalk cracks;
Her doctor is an alien
Who speaks in riddles with a knack.

She understands the sparrows’ songs,
Which she interprets for the ants;
The social worker recommends
She take a class in modern dance.

She pushes her grocery cart across
The street from parking lot to bench;
If somebody would hear her out
She’d teach them how to turn a wrench.

When winds blast loud and clouds grow dark
And raindrops herald coming storms,
The deputy can’t make her go
To the homeless shelter to stay warm.

“Please go,” he urges, then she tells
Where she concealed a homemade bomb;
“You’ve gone too far this time,” he says,
“I’ll have to take you in, Mom.”

~Day Williams



1 And the LORD said to Moses and to Aaron:

2 “Go take a census of the Kohathite

Branch of the Levites by their clans and by

Their families. 3 Count all the men from thirty

To fifty years of age who come to serve

In work within the Meeting Tent. 4 This work

The Kohathites perform within the Tent

            Of Meeting: to care for most holy things.

5 And when the camp is set to move on, Aaron

And his sons are to go in and take down

The shielding curtain and to cover up the ark

Of Testimony with it. 6 Then they are

To cover this with hides of sea cows, spread

A cloth of solid blue above that and

Put poles in place. 7 They are to spread blue cloth

Over the table of the Presence and

On it put dishes, plates and bowls, and jars

For the drink offerings; the bread that is

Always there is to stay on it. 8 Above

These they shall spread a scarlet cloth and cover

That with some sea cows’ hides and put its poles

In place. 9 They are to take a blue cloth and

Cover the lampstand that’s for light, together

With all its lamps, its trays and its wick trimmers,

And all its jars for oil used to supply

It, 10 then they are to wrap it and all its

Accessories within a covering

Of hides of sea cows and put it upon

A frame to carry it. 11 and they are to

Spread a blue cloth above the golden altar

And cover that with sea cows’ hides and put

Its poles in place. 12 They are to take the items

Priests use to minister in sanctuary,

Wrap them in a blue cloth and cover that

            With sea cows’ hides and put them on a frame

For carrying. 13 They shall remove the ashes

From the bronze altar and above it they

Shall spread a purple cloth. 14 Then they shall place

On it all the utensils that the priests

Used when they ministered beside the altar,

            Including the firepans, meat forks, shovels and

            Sprinkling bowls. Over it they are to spread

A covering of sea cows’ hides and put

Its poles in place. 15 And after Aaron and

His sons have covered holy furnishings

And holy articles, and when the camp

Is set to move, the Kohathites shall come

To do the carrying, but they are not

To touch the holy things or they will die.

The Kohathites shall carry those things that

Are in the Meeting Tent. 16 Eleazar

Son of Priest Aaron is to be in charge

            Of oil for light, the fragrant incense, and

            The regular grain offering as well

As the anointing oil. He is to be

In charge of the whole tabernacle and

Everything in it, which includes its holy

Furnishings and its articles.” 17 The LORD

Said this to Moses and to Aaron, 18 “See

            That tribal clans of Kohathites are not

Cut off from Levites. 19 So that they may live

And will not die when they come near the most

Holy things, do this for them: Aaron and

His sons are to go in the sanctuary

And to each man assign his work and what

He is to carry, 20 but the Kohathites

Must not go in to look at holy things,

Not even for a moment, or they’ll die.”

            21 The LORD told Moses, 22 “Take a census also

Of Gershonites by their own families

And clans. 23 And count all the men from thirty to

Fifty years of age who come to serve

In work right at the Meeting Tent. 24 This is

The service of the clans of Gershonites

Clans as they work and carry burdens: 25 They

Shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle,

The Meeting Tent, its covering and also

The outer covering of sea cows’ hides,

And curtains for the Tent of Meeting’s entrance,

26 The curtains of the courtyard that surrounds

The tabernacle and the altar, and

The curtain for the entrance, ropes and all

Equipment that’s used in its service, and

            The Gershonites are to do all that must

Be done with these things. 27 All their service, whether

Carrying stuff or doing other work,

            Is to be done as Aaron and his sons

Direct. You shall assign to them as their

Responsibility all they shall carry.

28 This is the service of the Gershonite

Clans at the Meeting Tent. Their duties shall

Be under the direction of the son

Of the priest Aaron, who is Ithamar.

 29 And count the Merarites by their own clans

And families. 30 Count all the men from thirty

            To fifty years of age who come to serve

In labor at the Meeting Tent. 31 This is

Their duty at the Meeting Tent; to bear

            The tabernacle frames, its crossbars, posts

And bases, 32 as well as the posts out of

The courtyard ‘round it with their bases, tent

            Pegs, ropes, all their equipment and all things

Related to their use. Assign each man

Specific things he is to carry. 33 This

            Is how the clans of Merarites will serve

When working at the Meeting Tent beneath

Direction of the son of the priest Aaron,

Who is called Ithamar.” 34 And Moses, Aaron

And heads of the community did count

The Kohathites by clans and families.

35 All men from thirty years to fifty years

Of age who came to serve in work within

The Tent of Meeting, 36 counted by their clans,

Totaled two thousand seven hundred and

Fifty, 37 which was the total of all those

In clans of Kohathites who served within

            The Tent of Meeting. Moses along with

Aaron did count them by the Lord’s command

Through Moses. 38 Now the Gershonites were counted

By clans and families. 39 All men from thirty

To fifty years of age who came to serve

In labor at the Tent of Meeting, 40 counted

            By clans and families, were two thousand six

Hundred and thirty, 41 all those in the clans

Of Gershonites who served there at the Tent

Of Meeting. As the Lord commanded, Moses

And Aaron counted them. 42 The Merarites

Were counted by their clans and families.

            43 All men from thirty years to fifty years

Of age who labored at the Meeting Tent,

44 Counted by their clans, were three thousand and

Two hundred. 45 This was the total of those

In clans of Merarites. And Moses and

Aaron did count them by the Lord’s command

Through Moses. 46 Therefore Moses, Aaron and

The heads of Israel did count all Levites

By their own clans and families. 47 All men

From thirty years to fifty years of age

Who came to serve and bear the Meeting Tent.

48 Numbered eight thousand and five hundred eighty.

            49 At God’s command through Moses, each one was

Assigned his work and told what he would bear.

So they were counted, as God told him there.