[36] Storm Warning, John Sibley Williams

Tug: as in forcibly;

as in the taught rope
seesawing children
over a muddied field,

threads wild & readying
to snap; as in apron strings

& whatever a boy must do to
remind his mother he’s nothing
like his father, not yet; as in

a vessel
steering other vessels
a bit closer to land, not

that drowning has lost
its allure in a country
this devoutly starless;

as in to labor, toil, strive
to be stars, still, as if night’s
nothing more than a sanding

down of our rougher edges &
horizon an impossible anchor;

as in strenuous forgiveness,

opposing forces meeting somewhere
near center to redraw their maps, over
deathbeds promise for the first time

all ships return to port eventually,
which tonight sounds a lot like yes,

I’m sorry; as in

eventually we all muddy our knees
clawing back up onto land, how it is,
despite, perhaps because of, its hardness:

the land here holds me.

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