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  • Bad Water
  • John Sibley Williams (bio)

Over the gunwale burlap sacks of objects memory could not keep safe. It doesn’t feel right, seeing the edges of a family polished, shelved, and sold to strangers to pass down son to son until no us remains of us. Better the sea. Like the bodies of sailors swallowed by what they loved the most. I love ruin. Upturned skiffs on lawns collecting spiders. Factories abandoned by herring, then men. How the sun cuts through broken windows all the same. And still greater failures. I love cranes swaying restlessly over uncompleted cities. Whole planets stripped from their solar systems, reduced to just another notch in a belt in a sky with too many belts. Most of our grandfathers had too many belts. I’m trying to unlove them all, to open this already open window and let in some spring. There are a few more months of winter left in us. Huddled on the ice, the world as we have known it awaits its drowning. [End Page 140]

John Sibley Williams

John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. A seven-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, Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Atlanta Review, Arts & Letters, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.



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