I, Spencer Williams, hereby pledge I will return to this city.
I will watch the gray pavement dark with rain,
the steaming carts pushed by the street vendors
with ripped pantsuits and crooked smiles.


I will knead warm dough and brown the bread. I will pet a wolf,
her trusting tongue in my palm, as the buildings around us rise
like hydras. I, Spencer Williams, hereby pledge I will return
to this city.


I will watch the wind pass through bird cages
and hear the drumbeat of hammer on steel as
skyscrapers punch through the cloud line, the steel-toed
swords of tall and reticent knights.


So I’ve been told that droughts happen slow. The spiders
with thirsty mouths lap up yellow pools
behind the hunter’s backyard. I, Spencer Williams, hereby pledge
I will return to this city. I will listen to the music


of the dusty chimes, the beating heart of the rooftop shingles,
the throb and hum of the cracked pavement.
Do I have to talk about fear? So much
has been said of the firebrand skies,
the molotov cocktails in the woods. The needles
yearning to be lodged in the softness of an eye speak.


As the buildings around us rise like hydras, I will
hear the drumbeat of hammer on steel as
skyscrapers punch through the cloud line, the steel-toed
swords of tall and reticent knights.

Spencer Williams ’24 is a staff writer
swilliams24@amherst.edu

Karen Liu ’23 is a staff artist
klliu23@amherst.edu