An unbroken wail across the long waking
hours, the body beginning
to know itself. Skin ruptures
to make room for enamel, which is to say
we are meant to be a harder structure.

But for me to promise suffering
is easier once you eat of it

would be like claiming the maple
outside her window learns to endure
its shadow, that birds in time enjoy the tension
between eating and being eaten
by something larger. If
           I can be trusted with truth

I would tell her how bittersweet things taste
once she’s ripped them from the earth
and bitten down, which is how
I’ve come to know my father and how she
will come to know me.
The shadow of love thickens under a hesitant tree.   

I’m not ready for your wailing to stop


John Sibley Williams



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