by John Sibley Williams

Some bodies, only alive for a day, & in that

a light to envy, though none of us would give

up this long wet world for a matchstick, flint-

struck, sulfur-scented, burning & in that burning

a reason to cherish what we’ll lose before holding.

All this looking back to another’s biology to explain

our distress. What to worship when what we worship

is a negation, a rope our hands tremble too wildly

to knot. What we need is a choice that is not really

a choice at all: a different body, winged, hard-shelled,

brief as wings butterflying the surface, pond broken

& as if it will remember the breaking, a motive;

let’s say it’s to love, love knowing the love won’t last

the night. Distilled, incandescent as mayflies. Hold me now,

love, as if it’s always already too late.

John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize) and Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize). A nineteen-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review. Publications include: Yale Review, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Massachusetts Review, and Third Coast.