THE CHILDREN by John Sibley Williams

by John Sibley Williams

Back when play carried less grief,
our darkness ruined only a half-acre
or so of the light. The rest was all
tire swings & spring-bound horses.
Leaping over cracks in concrete to
save your mother’s spine. Weapon-
ized branches shaken loose by past
storms. Cowboys & Indians. Soldier
& Other. Then the world.


Do you remember when we cut eyes
into paper & wore yesterday’s news
over our faces? How it took hours
to wash all that ink from our eyes.
How you would play one animal &
I would not-so-much-pretend to be
another. Mask, you called it. Then I
would ask which one?


There was a time we found stars in
our bodies. As I chased you across
the sky’s absences. Rising: cresting:
falling, like any semi-permanent, lit
thing. Grass stain. Sprained heaven.
& me saying night contains so many
eternities we never know which will
hold us.

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, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and various anthologies.


Image credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash


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