William Orem

by Best Poem


Just as twilight grows thick enough to feel it
deer come to the unplowed field.

We are strangers to this landscape, to the intuitions
     all farmers know,
the practicalities of moon
and soil, the drudge and spit
     of labor.
We’re in this house as guests, and miles from town.

Now in gradual blue the mother tilts,
     her eyes form twin dollops.
She seems to be showing them how to drink the Earth —
     her fawns, her two quick fawns.

Their necks are brown as antique paper.
You’d touch the noses if you could,
     an unshelled snail, moss in a creek.

All three dance in the sunlight’s branches
     and are gone,
and I think how the world leaps daily to find itself,
over and over, finding itself.


William Orem’s first collection of stories, Zombi, You My Love, won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. Other stories and poems of his have appeared in over 95 publications, including The Princeton Arts Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Sou’Wester and The New Formalist, and he has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in both genres. His play The Seabirds won the Manduzmar New Plays contest at Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo and had its world premier in September. Alongside his creative writing, William also works as a popular science journalist. His work may be heard around the world on the NPR-affiliate broadcast A Moment of Science, and his biweekly blog for the Foundational Questions Institute, an MIT-based organization that funds research into mind-bending physics and cosmology, can be seen here.  William has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University Bloomington. He is currently Writer-In-Residence at Emerson College.