1 poem

John sibley williams

Open Season

Rifle crack.
All this god-forsaken waiting

to see what falls.

Sometimes a bird or two. Or stars. Sometimes

a brother’s son who refuses the brightly
glowing vest because it seems too girly.

We’re all trying to prove
ourselves to someone.

Today we’re hoisting a buck up into a flatbed
as prayer.

As prayer, we’re thrusting our hands deep into it.
& bone knives.

In a field still stained in moonlight

silently to color,

three days before the season opens
to blood & gristle,

we’re here

to take what we can in our mouths
& chew.

Before the animals ready for flight.
Before others taint the land with their prayers.

"Open Season" was a runner up for the 2018 Up North Poetry Prize

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John Sibley Williams

John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize, 2019), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, University of Nebraska Press, 2019), Disinheritance, and Controlled Hallucinations. A nineteen-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Wabash Prize for Poetry, Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Phyllis Smart-Young 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, Southern Review, 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. Read more at https://www.johnsibleywilliams.com.