William Kerin Rizos


All stories seem as one     

Though history is a horsehair
In a brush;
And time a madman
In rush

To get the painting done

We are not visible long
In the pigment of that song;
It is love that lifts us from the grave
Of all the canvas cannot save




A late Birthday wish for Fran Livernois

Whether acknowledged early or late,
Or not at all,
Birthdays to our dismay,
Continue to accumulate.
There is no skirting the heft
Of such a day –
A finger on the scale of what is left;
One more year’s completed call
Ringing alone in our reluctant ears;

Whatever the weight of this stone,
Set in one of four seasons,
I hope you find the date manageable,
And pick, among a bouquet of reasons,
Something beautifully bearable, probable,
One that brings you joy –
Such as the lives springing from your own.


Dump Run

In the short
Time I was here,
I was unprepared
For all that would disappear,                                       
Dismayed by all that stayed.




"Mom", I said,









Winter; A Visit Ended Nearing Midnight
Carrie Barton, Widow; The Early 80’s

Walking home
Under the intense
Stare of stars,
I keep a song’s company
Down a short stretch of empty street -

I see your living room go dark.
Stopped now,
I wait to see your bedroom light
Spill into this winter night
& puddle in the porch roof snow…

Unseen, downstairs,
The past grows green again
In the garden of this widow’s words:
History is her husband’s hands
Breaking the April ground’
The births of children;
Names forever in the heart’s granite.

Mrs. Barton,
The filament of your memory flickers,
Then burns incandescent with love,
Bleeding off the vacuum that surrounds you –
Putting Lazarus’ hand in mine.

This resurrection of the dead,
Embroidered with the buried detail,
Keeps me tied to what I move by:
Stories of other feet on First Street…
Your light clicks off –
Night reclaims your house, this street,

But for you, sleep is hours away.
The dead die again just before day.





Willam Kerin Rizos, who grew up in Manomet, MA, lives, works, and writes in Malone, New York.