“My Heart is in the Mouth of Another Heart” and “Suture” by John Sibley Williams


Found in Willow Springs 84

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My Heart is in the Mouth of Another Heart


May the deer navigate              this field of white crosses

                        & tiny windless flags

as if no one buried beneath has ever taken from them.


May we join the mice nesting               in our bones

Like rotten logs


& raise our children safely shadowed

                                                  in grief.



May the children we've chosen for sacrifice climb

so high in these elms the light            that rarely reaches us

trembles at their coming.

Trembles & comes to them.


Someday the need to sing will become the song

& the song grow into another need.


Not for blood this time. Not oil. Otherness.

Among the burning crosses, churches, refineries at dusk, a bridge that

shouldn't be there. May we say we see it through the smoke.

Like forgiveness. All this impossible forgiveness.

May the dead believe us when we say it.




Until it no longer held,           the bridge was eternal.


& even after its dissolution

into the concept of a bridge,


into stories handed down generations

of how once there was a way



we say we can taste the rust

& hear


{when the river shuts up for a night)


the feet of children

(who must be long dead

by now)


stampeding barefoot across it.


They sound like matches dropped in water.


They sound like parables

told so often we confuse them

with memories.


When the water is clear enough to see the bottom,

we say we can see the bottom. We fish it for ruin

& come up empty-handed. Tonight

the whole town is coming together (again) to discuss


rebuilding a bridge no one remembers having ever been there


(but must have, once,


if we're to call the other side


a shore).

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