by John Sibley Williams

John Sibley Williams

is what my daughter,
whose body once believed

itself a boy’s, in all her
uncertainty & sweetness,

calls every plumed white
contrail, every rafter briefly

holding the sky in its place.
That her twin sister angles

her dark eyes up to that same
aftermath, once it’s dissolved,

& says where did all our rivers
go hurts more than the real

river that once cut our town
in half & now snakes dry &

heavy with shattered jars &
blown tires & all those unkept

promises of water. Of reflections.
Our bridges now with nothing to do

but span & spider. Because the world
is always about to end, I ask them what

they see when the bedroom goes
dark & the echo of my lullabies

fades to eulogy & all that’s left is
the plumed white breath of winter

entering, unrequested, reminding
them of sky. & scrape. & lost rivers.

& she says I don’t even see
my body anymore. Only what

my body will be someday. Around her
my arms grow too heavy to steeple,

nearly too soft to bridge. As overhead
all signs disappear. & all wounds.

As if the world is readying itself for us.
For her. As the planes keep crossing over

our brows, briefly, lovingly, like ash.

Last updated November 25, 2022