Bestiary by John Sibley Williams

beasts suspended from ceiling hooks.
circling infancy brief colors, bright
light kneaded into linen. bars,
the shadows of bars.
        & I am nowhere
but in this briefness, this mechanical
hum of threads weaving plastic
lion & antelope with stars
        —once they’ve swallowed
                    up the lamp & morning
                    through the curtains;
pasted radiance, green-glowing, heavenly
                                     above your
unforgiving attempts to make the world
                    visible. tangible. loving.
& I am closer
        than this, for now, closer,
reading to you a book in the language of birds
moving southward. winter,
and it is cold enough to ask
if you’ll forgive me, someday,
John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. A five-time Pushcart nominee and winner of the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Midwest Quarterly, december, Third Coast, Baltimore Review, Nimrod International Journal, Hotel Amerika, Rio Grande Review, Inkwell, Cider Press Review, Bryant Literary Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.