To the junior high

bio teacher,

who encouraged

birds to enter

his childhood



and treated us

as Pavlov’s dogs,




a certain register

of bell to elicit

mimetic cherry pies:


When now, if I must

professionally don

a commemorative t

over shirt and tie,


I pretend I am you.


In essence, you said,

the ones who evolve

are merely those

who happen to last


when everyone else

is busy failing

to survive.




Patrick Williams is a poet and academic librarian living in central New York. His recent work appears in publications including The Metric, Sundog Lit, 3:AM Magazine, and Heavy Feather Review. He is the editor of Really System, a journal of poetry and extensible poetics. Find him online at patrickwilliamsintext.com and @activitystory on Twitter.