Small Treasons

Somewhere,  it  isn’t  night  &  a  body
moves across another without harm,
as if taking  a  knife  to  the sky, &  we
can  answer when a child  asks where
the world goes when  our  eyes close.
Somewhere,  we  are  sorry;  I assume
for our  silences.  Bones  ache  &  char
&  must  burn,  somewhere,  surely  as
skin.  Even  our  ghosts  have   left  us.
There  must  be a place  where  hands
aren’t  cages  &  cages aren’t  gestures
well-intentioned  but   failing.  Where
we love with more than body  &  hurt
&  know  when  we  have  hurt.  Some-
where,  a  less  flammable history,  at
least  where  the  sparks  fly   upward
before  falling back to ash.




John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. A ten-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Yale Review, Midwest Quarterly, Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Atlanta Review, TriQuarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon. 




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