A Kind of Intimacy

by John Sibley Williams

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—  after Mark S.R. Struzan

We arrive nearly invisible,
despite our wailing,
into a world of forms.
We fail the promise
of making more from them than silhouette.
We fail the road. The breath in our lungs.

But we have a kind of certainty:
as we drop, the air parts around us
and reunites in our wake.
The earth accepts the weight we carry
and hollows out a place for us.

At first, everything is huge and closer than touch.
Unfamiliar, the sky in our eyes. We will fail that sky.
Like a paper mobile left turning too long,
distance unfolds gradually.
Time doubles, triples, and before morning comes
with its unflinching parade
we have learned to stop wailing altogether.

But the air continues to part, temporarily.
The earth still burrows and smiles.
It is only the mind that struggles against
the body’s indefinite shape, some distance away.

John Sibley Williams is the author of Controlled Hallucinations (forthcoming, FutureCycle Press) and six poetry chapbooks. He is the winner of the HEART Poetry Award, and finalist for the Pushcart, Rumi, and The Pinch Poetry Prizes. John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review, co-director of the Walt Whitman 150 project, and Marketing Director of Inkwater Press. A few previous publishing credits include: Third Coast, Inkwell, Bryant Literary Review, Cream City Review, The Chaffin Journal, The Evansville Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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