by John Sibley Williams

My hands are translucent and cracked, like lake’s surface.
Fish are captured by the inertia of ice. I watch in vain
for a glimpse of life, a flittering gill or darting eye.
I watch and find they even sleep like me,
under masses of covers, dreaming of movement.
And in the air I can only hear the birdless wind cry
a somber tune of destitution, whirling through the gray trees,
brushing past the birdless branches that add
their voices, insistent, bereaved, heightening the pitch
to a whistle. By the time it finally reaches my ear,
I too feel birdless.

John Sibley Williams has an MA in Writing and resides in Portland, OR, where he frequently performs his poetry, works with Three Muses Press, Ooligan Press, and HoboEye, and studies Book Publishing at Portland State University. His poetry was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. Some of his over 100 previous or upcoming publications include The Evansville Review, Ellipsis, Flint Hills Review, Euphony, Open Letters, Cadillac Cicatrix, Juked, The Journal, Hawaii Review, Cutthroat, The Furnace Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Aries, The Alembic, Clapboard House, and River Oak Review. Find him online at

Editor’s note: “Winter” is reprinted here. It first appeared in Nibble (Spring 2009).

Back to Issue Ten: Winter 2011