Poems by John Sibley Williams

The Blue Hour


Though it is deep
unreturnable winter,
I am told to open
all the windows
in this room of too many

Snowflakes beat themselves senseless
against your moon-blanched face
and in melting smother
the ritual candles
we’ve left burning all day,
all night, and will reuse
soon enough.

Something like prayer
but without the certainty
flutters aimlessly between us
with no place to land.

Our breath is the air
and the air is opaque.

There is a fever-pitched giving
and an inevitable taking.

Forbidden, the cold light
we’re left with
hurts the stars
and the stars aren’t
in your hair

Father writes “open”
on your forehead in ash
while I trace “tomorrow”
on the white sheet
of your eyes
going still.


Can I say that a child died inside us
when all we have conceived is a name
for what could be?

We’ve built a cradle of…

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