Stars are nothing but night’s failure to shine
around them. We measure exit wounds only when
death hasn’t lodged itself in the lungs or spine or
inexorably burrowed into the heart. Before the
heart beats its last, a hole just large enough for
what’s left of a family to slip through. My cousin
is saying something about catharsis & childhood.
I remember when tracing letters on a brother’s
back meant the world, at least language, could
only be shared by two. Once the world opened its
arms, we dissolved. Body may not be the best word
for it, but it fits. Hope may not really be what we
hang from stars, but what else to call it? Boy is not
a window & man doesn’t mean he’d learned to
unlock the door. The bolt sticks when I try to
secure the outside from the in. In blessedness, the
pastor says, the sky emptied of birds begins to
sing. I’m singing. I’m singing as if the world were
listening; not in elegy, ecstasy, prayer. More for
the deep night that shines around the stars, the
window thrown open to let in the cold.
John Sibley Williams is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Disinheritance. A nine-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review. Publications include: Yale Review, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Midwest Quarterly, Sycamore Review, Massachusetts Review, Columbia, Third Coast, and Poetry Northwest.