by John Sibley Williams

John Sibley Williams

What they’ve died in made sacred
while what killed them is forgotten
or forgiven. No wonder history is
often pictured as a sky-bearing
cross or a sharp cut of moon or an
endless sea of candles in a
guilt-darkened room. The story as
some know it ends with tangled
rebar. A shattered school. Empty
promises made over a rich and
distant earth. I’m more familiar with
young men moving stones from
caves and waiting for their fathers
to call them home. It’s a ramshackle
river we pretend to try to cross to
see ourselves beautiful on the other
shore. We are convinced we cannot
be beautiful here. We find the signs
we’re looking for, and they mean
exactly what we knew they would.
I’m looking for the world the world
doesn’t like to talk about above a
whisper. Some sort of unforbidden
city. A beveled hilltop overlooking
an impossible meadow made
weightless by the dead. The dead
here are so heavy. We may never be
this beautiful again.

Last updated November 25, 2022