by John Sibley Williams

Night crawlers separate the soil & my fingers

follow, snaring & exhuming, hooking; still alive—
though not in any sense we’d recognize apart perhaps

from my fingering grandma’s ribcage as it writhed & heaved under thinning


of hospital light—

bodies preparing themselves for entering another’s body.

Something larger at work, dad would say. Don’t cry
for the world.
& I learned how to turn it to rain.


Rain is the best weather for this kind of thing. The soon-to-be-eaten rise

to the surface,

tempted by gesture: the sky’s tumult, a god’s tears.

The white cross of his arms over mine

steering flailing silver into the boat. Hollow-bottomed—

worshipful, almost satisfying—

a cooler full of beer I’m too young to drink & blood I’m just the right age for.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 2.

John Sibley Williams is the author of Controlled Hallucinations (FutureCycle Press) and six poetry chapbooks. He is the winner of the HEART Poetry Award, and finalist for the Pushcart, Rumi, and The Pinch Poetry Prizes. John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review, co-director of the Walt Whitman 150 project, and Marketing Director of Inkwater Press. A few previous publishing credits include: Third Coast, Inkwell, Bryant Literary Review, Cream City Review, The Chaffin Journal, The Evansville Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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