JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS
We electric taped the legs of crabs to see
if they could learn to walk like us. That same
summer, penknifed initials into wind-bent cypress
& the local liquor store’s shutters, placing bets
on which would wear our names best. The rainstorm
was nothing. It only verified what we already knew
of sky, delinquency, how once the wrecking’s done
we’d take turns rebuilding & razing again. Every child
needs something to fix. Every mother is at home
readying a room for what is coming. What is true is
tens of thousands of hands have buried their brothers’
torsos in the same heavy sand & left them alone to free
themselves. What is true is, given the numbers, not all survived.
Of the crows sifting through tidewrack for something edible,
how few we spared. Smooth stones or you-are-now-a-man
pellet guns or our bare hands. In each isolated moment, what is true
is not as important as what feels right. How driving those long
daylit hours home meant we had a home, which sanctified the rest.
John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. An eleven-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors' Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Yale Review, Midwest Quarterly, Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Atlanta Review, TriQuarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.