American Émigré

John Sibley Williams

The fence that wrapped our field
has collapsed from bolting horses &
the steady weight of winter. Barbs
no longer snag our jeans or bloody
our hands when we flee the burning
that is home. Small signal fires light
the hills red. Another country some-
where out there promises a peace it
cannot possibly keep. Repeat after
me: the cities we’ll build on the ruin
of other cities will shimmer & shine
before they fall.

John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. His work can be found in The Yale Review, Midwest Quarterly, Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Atlanta Review, Arts & Letters, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Denise Rogers says:

    It’s a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing it.

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