Eratio Issue 17




Two Poems


by John Sibley Williams








The fall of man is not this crumbling tower,

our intimate sins left unforgiven

or the sins we offer freely.

We will not end with the world held at arm’s length

or with the world suffocated in embrace

or with the world warring in itself

or with the living repurposing their dead.


It is the tipping point of language over body,

eye over mouth—that cold moment

when the object of affection

becomes the affection,

when that first object vanishes

into its beautiful music.








Unstable imitations of Christ

establish our horizontal plane.

A statue broken by birds points skyward

and defines the vertical.

Dreams inch forward

despite their infinite wingspan.

What is loosely called “the body”?—

a figure by the roadside

collapsed beneath its own weight.










John Sibley Williams is the author Controlled Hallucinations (forthcoming, FutureCycle Press) and six poetry chapbooks.  He is the winner of the HEART Poetry Award, and finalist for the Pushcart, Rumi, and The Pinch Poetry Prizes.  John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review, co-director of the Walt Whitman 150 project, and Book Marketing Manager at Inkwater Press.  A few previous publishing credits include Third Coast, Inkwell, Bryant Literary Review, Cream City Review, The Chaffin Journal, The Evansville Review, RHINO and various anthologies.  He lives in Portland, Oregon.