From one broken country to another : do you still pray to the gods we fashioned from photos of our absent fathers? All grizzle & spit, sky, fist, love. You must have arrived here by belief too, searching for something you could mistake for a life. Back when we lived in the house that had nothing in it, did you think, even in your wildest silences, another one was waiting on the opposite shore?
If home is more than a body’s ill rapport with walls & wants, drones, dust, rebuildings, & never-agains. If escape is just another word for yes, it happens here too & torture but a failed embrace, a kiss too soft. If, when they redraw the maps, joining our skins into one world, one great experiment in empathy, you beg me for forgiveness; what if I apologize, again, instead?
Nothing shatters, yet our voices are made entirely of glass. Yes, nothing stays, yet here we are in the same small prison touching hands &, yes, sharing breath. If this is our liturgy, let there be so much damn smoke & dance & flagellation & lovemaking that our fathers finally recognize us. Blood washes quickly from the tiled floor. My sky opens to yours, then closes. When you sever the heads of certain beasts, they grow right back. This is how I’d like you to fail me.
THE ADIRONDACK REVIEW
COPYRIGHT © 2000–2018
ISSN: 1533 2063
The Detainee is Granted One Wish
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. An nine-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.