by John Sibley Williams

  1. Before she loses my face,
  2. my mother tells me fire
  3. is just trees rubbing together
  4. for warmth or prayer
  5. when everything else has failed
  6. to keep night in its place.
  7. In the absence of faith,
  8. gasoline must do. Matches.
  9. Angst. So when my mother
  10. begins calling me by other names,
  11. I burn through those too.
  12. It’s a lot like drowning
  13. in a father’s oversized
  14. shadow or undiagnosing
  15. what runs through her veins
  16. into mine. As smoke shifts
  17. shapes in the wind without
  18. losing its definition, I swear
  19. I can be whoever she sees in me
  20. & still that little boy terrified
  21. of ashing up into a nameless sky.
Packingtown Review – Vol.13, Spring 2020

John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize) and Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize). A fourteen-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review. Publications include: Yale Review, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Massachusetts Review, and Third Coast.

  1. Jean Wolff
    Double Lines 1art