Alma Mater
by John Sibley Williams

  1. These are the real wounds
  2. that survive us—
  3. a formal expertise in burning
  4. before knowing fire,
  5. life set in the stone periphery
  6. of some great idea.
  1. I’ve been taught many times
  2. to fall and ascend,
  3. to become and repeat
  4. a classroom of sky.
  5. I’ve touched what is known
  6. and spoken of clouds
  7. from deep within a mouth
  8. half-empty of voice.
  1. And of the simplest dirt. The impossible earth.
  2. And of song faded gray by the brilliance of its words.
  3. And from night. Star-darkened night.
  4. And the silent light of morning
  5. that must be uttered into being.
Packingtown Review – Vol.6, Winter 2014/2015

John Sibley Williams is the author of eight collections, most recently Controlled Hallucinations (FutureCycle Press, 2013). Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, he serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and Board Member of the Friends of William Stafford. Previous publishing credits include: American Literary Review, Third Coast, Nimrod International Journal, Rio Grande Review, Inkwell, Cider Press Review, Bryant Literary Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

  1. Alexis Ivy