by John Sibley Williams —
I can’t shake the feeling we all carry some shared
self-referential image to see what we need to see in what
otherwise can’t wear us. Even a breached levee can
feel like home when it splits a family in two.
Even the paternal snore of oil refineries, though less
constant than that drunken slumber fathers sing to a hushed
& anxious house, & so much less sincere as silence or grief,
shakes the dust from the sky. For his hand: think a train’s
coal car. & for your own: the faces shovels make from the sparks.
For this slowly lengthening rope of night; think history; think
of all they names we’ve used for god & how closely they resemble
the expectations we hang over our children’s heads. Impossibly
pure, familiar, that boat in the distance rowing further into the distance.
For distance: not what is lost & mourned but mourned without any loss at all;
as clouds congregate, coalesce, disband over a house that stands
empty yet firm, rooted in reflection, intimate so far as we still see ourselves in it.