At the Wrist

Opened,  &  from it little wrecks fill the tepid bathtub slowly becoming an ocean. Every drop of us a frigate,
a war ship. Every half-meant prayer a small city, razed: rebar & cinders: collapsed schools, childless: plane-loads & planeloads of smooth metal preparing itself for piercing light.

Some mistakes are worth repeating, acts that nearly erase the impotency of being one among many. Forever dressing & undressing into/out of communal needs. Agency in taking back what was never yours to give. A strangerís life: a country warring with itself: a bodyís surrender: slow slow liberation.

Accidental hours between gesture & forgiveness: a once-thriving battle-field gone briefly silent. Before our echo expires, ask all we have hurt or meant to hurt. Our mothers, kids: flesh, blade: ask the shadowed sky before it heals over & forgets us.


John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. A seven-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, Arts & Letters, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.