Issue > Poetry
John Sibley Williams

John Sibley Williams

John Sibley Williams is the author of Controlled Hallucinations (FutureCycle Press, 2013) and six poetry chapbooks. He is the winner of the HEART Poetry Award and finalist for the Pushcart, Rumi and The Pinch Poetry Prizes. He's published in Third Coast, Nimrod International Journal, Inkwell, Cider Press Review, Bryant Literary Review, Cream City Review, The Chaffin Journal, The Evansville Review, RHINO and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


I hold the board book like a shield:
green spears of grass, impossibly white skies,

a stippled sun massaging a field where talking
animals never seem to eat each other.

As if our story can be told without that kind
of hunger. As if learning to read means something

different now that the world can be contained
behind page & screen. There are too many words

here to pinpoint where silence begins & where
silence should end. & I read every one every night

over their cribs like a protection spell, a mantra, an attempt
to convince myself. I know I should let them gnaw

away the spine, leave their mark, be marked. I'm terrified
I love this story too much to throw open the windows & let them see.


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