How to Build an American House

by John Sibley Williams

John Sibley Williams

What the saw wants once sapwood
has sung itself out. A hammer now
that all the nails are flush. A boy
after having most of his childhood
pulled from his mouth like teeth,
like song, leaving him a man. In any
case, once the job is done the thing
persists. The subject fades to object.
Its verb loses agency. I am. At least
I am. And the sun sinks into grass,
staining the surface red. It’s good,
for now, forgetting the world keeps
going without us, that we are bright
flecks of light dancing into a
back-drop of more light. The saw
hangs static from hooks above its
creation. All the boards are in the
right place. The child has a child he
hopes will have a child someday.
What is it he wants now that the
house is ready for living?

Last updated November 25, 2022