[40] Crucible and Photograph, John Sibley Williams


melted down into.
one shape replaced
by another. same
material pulled from
the earth. like roots.
horseradish. copper
coins with someone
important’s face worn
off. your mother before
all that tilling. & silence.
that kind of heat. molten
& unstable. streaming
down your no-longer-
unbroken youth, nectar.
aftermath. how fruit burns.
how there are far too many
fires in our lungs to speak
them all. how she’s not here
to wipe your cheek clean.
how like a…


the absence hurts more
when you’re reminded
it once had a name. & arms
melted down into. refashioned
into a story. a lullaby. anything
to forget it’s only me here holding
you. trying so hard to hold you still.

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