I can’t see the whole ocean from here. Just a bird-
broken bay, backlit oyster shacks piled high in
hollow shells, incomplete haloes reflecting off
polished masts. Windless, their sails tied down
like domesticated dogs to backyard trees. A born
wildness deferred. Something I want desperately
to call my own: what is the word for wings
once skin has grown over them? We arm ourselves
with slack & acceptance, adulthood & all sorts of
gods, stories that end with boys falling, feather-
singed, from the sun. This is meant to be
a teachable moment. A father aims his son’s
cocked finger at passing barges & says bang.
He reads the morning paper loud enough
the whole house mourns each casualty.
& there are so many casualties. Just beyond
the storm-readied town, past the jetties that break
the breakers in half, in other words out of our empire
of sight: a war that reaches us ink & clean lines. Of home
I mainly remember these confident rooflines, so sharp they
could be words. How another’s tempest brings out our eyes.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 1.
See all items about John Sibley Williams