An oscillating tin rooster tells us

things have escalated. I lick a stranger’s

forefinger & hold it high to gauge direction.

I smash an antique barometer over my knee & chew

through the satinwood & glass to get a more accurate

reading of the pressures we suffer vs. those we exert.

Where they balance, all the names of all the women

who died without praise or statue to keep this old world

well-lit. When I ask my dead mother where she kept

the farmer’s almanac, the windows rattle in reply.

I’m pretty sure most weathers take a masculine declension;

that most storms begin & end in hands like mine.


John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize, 2019), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, 2019), Disinheritance, and Controlled Hallucinations. An eleven-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, The 46er Prize, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors' Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Laux/Millar Prize. 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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