It Was a Golden Age of Monsters

The sickle moon bobs like a child’s paper boat
between silhouettes of paper mountains. I am watching

steam swell off a herd of bison in a black and white
book about the American West. Too young to read

much into what I’m reading. The world is all image,
unfinished rail track and Douglas fir, level saw cuts, rings

tracing back to the beginning. The dozen spears projecting
from a felled paper beast are replaced the next chapter

by rifles and iron and the same falling. Tomorrow
it will snow and my father will drive me down

to the hospital again. Snowflakes crazing
about our headlights. Paper moon between

the mountains. I will be thinking about bison,
blood on the page, the pillow. The road

that curls home always seems to erase itself.
And the steam coming off it, frail as breath.

John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. A five-time Pushcart nominee and winner of the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Midwest Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Third Coast, Baltimore Review, NimrodRHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Also check out John’s new poetry book Disinheritance, available here.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

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