tree canopy from tree root, little growth, secondhand
stars on the surface of lakes. First I had to
recognize what’s still missing
from my face. The rest was inference.
I constructed a carousel of father figures
material & imagined forever
in the garage rebuilding old cars & arks.
A mother’s intimacy implied. Nothing
real enough to hold
up like a thumb to block out the impossibly
big sun. I added a flatbed with all the tools
taken out, a road paved free
of bump & crash, rifle crack, river bruise, mountain
bruise, the violent language of blue
breaking into a green field.
A history that likely never happened to justify my hands.
Axe-hewn, storm-shivered, a single trembling elm
touching its forehead to a pliant earth.
Know this: Copernicus was wrong;
we are each centers of our universes.
The world orbits the worlds we invent
each day anew. To give us somewhere
to call home, the earth adjusts, & the sky.
To give us something to move through,
calendar, atlas, histories, eternity.
It is already tomorrow & here in this desert
great green towers, spined & furious,
eternal, edible: a body among bodies.
We are thirsty. The sun spits & sizzles.
See how simple it is to slice and drink.
See how good it feels to believe the world
will burn all her skin off in solidarity.
John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize), and Summon (JuxtaProse Chapbook Prize). A nineteen-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review, teaches for Literary Arts, and is a poetry agent.