by John Sibley Williams
This Could Be a Love Song
a surface no longer reflecting.
something like a watery divide,
a river of unused bridges.
smaller than the mouth that narrates it,
a pure song
deep in an unsung heart,
a heavy weakness for guilt,
a heavy absence of bone.
We have lost
all but the words for it.
What was home
has become a mantra
we must repeat into belief.
The walls around us are less
than the bricks we stacked heavenward,
less than any heaven.
And still nothing
can extinguish us.
A star rests heavy on the roof.
A dozen dead birds roost in the gutters.
When it rains it’s as if everything
were born iron, every structure built
to leak from the corners.
A disembodied swing set arcs
and punctures the sky. Through the hole
a familiar letter tumbles to the lawn. To be happy
all we can do is read about ourselves in the past.
Do you remember? and again
and again and the birds
descend dead to the window
we’ve never opened. And the star.
– Previously published in Bryant Literary Review
Kind of Intimacy
— after Mark S.R. Struzan
We arrive nearly invisible,
despite our wailing,
into a world of forms.
We fail the promise
of making more from them than silhouette.
We fail the road. The breath in our lungs.
But we have a kind of certainty:
as we drop, the air parts around us
and reunites in our wake.
The earth accepts the weight we carry
and hollows out a place for us.
At first, everything is huge and closer than touch.
Unfamiliar, the sky in our eyes. We will fail that sky.
Like a paper mobile left turning too long,
distance unfolds gradually
Time doubles, triples, and before morning comes
with its unflinching parade
we have learned to stop wailing altogether.
But the air continues to part, temporarily.
The earth still burrows and smiles.
It is only the mind that struggles against
the body’s indefinite shape, some distance away.