by John Sibley Williams
I remember the land less brutal, less crowned in shotgun shells, so much less hemmed-in, shadowed, broken by birdlessness. Where a presence once passed into absence: dusky mountain. Where form reemerges: pheasants in sudden flight. I assume from us. I have always assumed we aren’t losing so much as driving away. Let’s count the seconds until our echo fades. No, not like an iron church bell leaving the air to heal itself; more the lengthening respite between sky blaze and thunder clap. Everything I hate about what I love about home nests in this silence.
JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize, 2019), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, 2019), 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, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, The 46er Prize, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Laux/Millar Prize. 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.