Eratio Issue 17






by John Sibley Williams





I am afraid my writing the word love

will mean the end of a species.


I am afraid the decision to embrace

will erect another wall around Jerusalem.


If I had wings, flight

might devastate an ice cap.


And if I fail    to write, decide,



             If each gesture

lingers flagless           awaiting storm for allegiance.


             If I am a closed door

in a room         with a thousand open windows.


I am afraid even my silence

will explode into consequence.


A candle shattered by the spectacle

             of its temporary light.










John Sibley Williams is the author of Controlled Hallucinations (FutureCycle Press, 2013) and six poetry chapbooks.  He is the winner of the HEART Poetry Award, and finalist for the Pushcart, Rumi, and The Pinch Poetry Prizes.  He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review, co-director of the Walt Whitman 150 project, and Marketing Director of Inkwater Press.  Publishing credits include Third Coast, Nimrod International Journal, E·ratio #17, Inkwell, Cider Press Review, Bryant Literary Review, Cream City Review, The Chaffin Journal, The Evansville Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. 

John Sibley Williams lives in Portland, Oregon, and is online at


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