John Sibley Williams

is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize) and Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize). An eleven-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review. Publications include: Yale Review, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Massachusetts Review, and Third Coast.


All this hum must come from somewhere.

If not intent, at least origin // at least a throat
greenly opening to spring or exhausted elms

hunkering down so the winds won’t break them
as they have so many others // at least belief: the world is worth singing into, that echoes

collect in the corners like spiderless webs,
their silken strings still trembling with past

prey // at least, like angels & their wretched call,
there is an elsewhere our voices are meant

to grow toward; in this caged forest air

bodies throw themselves into the bars
with the wild rapture of being heard

for once, as if these countless centuries
can be healed in a single act. It would be good

// at least to call the steady static within

a bridge & listening a shore & adding to it
current // at least to say there is a yes

rising in our throats, drowning out the wail
of us, repronouncing our truth // carrying it.