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Off Season

Blood spills across the snow like lit kerosene. The sun in the snow half-blinding & true as glass looked into too long. Hobbled prints wind along an iced over riverbed into the forest where the things that go to die don’t die by our hands. We’ll follow what we failed to kill all our lives.




Always Greener

We’ve made suffering a longing for a body pierced by nails. Hung from an x of wood high enough the world can see us & weep. Adore // pardon. Worship // grieve. A heaven filled with virgins or harps or family or no –thing but silence. We miss the city our city was built on, though no one alive has ever lived there. We claim the crops are failing in the height of spring & how every year before this one greened long & true into winter. When we stub our toes on the mid-night table leg, we curse the sky & curse the pain & ask how anyone endures until morning. It is morning now, & we don’t know which story to burn for, which burning will hurt, briefly, & exalt us.



No Closer

Last night I dreamt I was the wall. Tonight, perhaps, I’ll be their palms pressed in prayer // pain to the wall. The heat of prayer, its smothering.  A bird set loose in a house occupied by fragile things. Then the house, its frailty. A discordant chorus of girls either singing or wailing from the unseen side of the wall. Exaltation // keen. Fireworks // rifle crack. Either way, last night I was that ugly gray continuity between countries & the terribly horseless plains marked by graves. But never the graves them-selves; death is never mine. Back when I used to dream I was a door, I assumed that meant I was opening.




John Sibley Williams is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Disinheritance. An eleven-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review. Publications include: Yale Review, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Midwest Quarterly, Sycamore Review, Massachusetts Review, Columbia, Third Coast, and Poetry Northwest.