Two Poems by John Sibley Williams

 

Another Story That Ends in Cathedral

We stopped being birds for days
after they fell. An unimaginable
sight: skies emptied of planes and
dreams, of our ownerships. Empty
as the space between our hands. At
least we remembered to love what
goes as much as what comes.
-Mother had begonias and a  -nation
growing in her back then. My
daughter was a decade unborn.
Suddenly a god for every thirsty
mouth, and I think I remembered to
love them all equally, and forever.
Even those wingless angels amid a
monsoon of glass. Even the inferno.
My father’s folded fingers arched
into conversation with the burning
moonlight flickering through a sixth
story window that overlooked stone
escarpments dropping the city off
into the Hudson. What he heard
reply from deep within the absence
isn’t much use to us now, the dead
or the living.

 

Here We Stand

Pulleys and old ropes and held feet above the floor, lowering, so many crates cut to look less like men than pomegranates shipped in especially for this crowd of mourners to bite into while holding their free hands over their hearts. Blood orange rust lines the green truck ferrying a flag and my brother under the flag from one end of our lives to the other. If, under certain skies, our icons outlast us, let this be one of those -heavens. Not the preached and prayed to, just
a brief and hungering silence grown stronger in its breaking. What might be said, so much less than needing to say it. The father of our country is an angry god, gutting youth from the youthful, wood from the field
for bodies given back to the field. Rifle clap. Contrails divide the sky. Many smokes must meet to twine enough rope for the dead to escape. And the darkness, all the light still caught in their mouths; we have no idea how to account for its song.

 

Published in the August 11, 2017 issue: 
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John Sibley Williams is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Disinheritance. A seven-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of the Inflectionist Review.

Also by this author
Poem | American Émigré

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