A River Not Far From Here

by John Sibley Williams

It happens often.  Buckshot
and occasional glimpses
between plummeting black birds
of the city and early morning sun
continuing without us.
A whisper of the yet-to-be-
killed in the foreground fields.
A long corridor of water
captured in reeds the birds
flee before the echo
of the first shot fades.
We have come to accept this
as prayer, as longing for prayer
to continue beyond our bodies,
ceasing.  It’s good the trees
don’t take confession anymore
or we’d be out here all day
saying sorry with our hands.
It’s good there’s no name for it.
That the blood and stillness
beneath our nails has no name
is good.  That prayer ends.
This world with all
its worldliness plucked,
feather by feather.  This shivering
bird naked but for everything
it’s made of.