the museum of americana

a literary review

Nikola Tesla // Malala Yousafzai and César Estrada Chávez // Robert Frost — Two Poems by John Sibley Williams

 

Nikola Tesla // Malala Yousafzai

              if your hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world

 

Lend me a new god    (of kindle & current; boldly     broken vessel)
to pray to tonight. Tonight the earth         thunderheads & overhead
an absence of anchor. When the half of me not feigning           sleep
unwinds & unprivileges,         your starsong hurts         as it should
have always hurt. All bodies        a conduit      for other bodies. (Less
ocean between us now             for bullets to bridge.) Lend me that love
letter drilled into your skull.       Please             forgive my disbelief in 
impossible things.       When they came for you,       a girl was born
in a boat looking up         at a now-navigable night sky.    No one left
to drown her compass.            No body left           to steal that spark.
Please lend me your (recklessly simple)        song. Your wireless
tower, cascading heavens.      A textbook. Just one unruined
schoolhouse. The world         (until there’s no one left to sing it).

 

 

César Estrada Chávez // Robert Frost

 

Where two roads diverge, an orchard
rests its throat in migrant hands: body
reaching into another body: beautifully

raw sustenance exhumed: each pinch
of green a prayer to distant family: every
goddamn callus a reason not to go gentle.

                    // I have been one acquainted with the night. //

 Now a makeshift trailer meant to keep the world
in its place keeps the men & women under-
paid & unable to taste an unowned world: this

choreographed violence: bloodless revolution:
coerced hunger replaced by chosen, regardless: huddled
masses: crucible of root & sky: to look up and see, still,

                  // there is no good night. //

 

~~~

John Sibley WilliamsJohn Sibley Williams is the author of six collections, including The Drowning House (Elixir Press Poetry Award), As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, University of Nebraska Press), and Summon (JuxtaProse Chapbook Prize). A twenty-six-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Wabash Prize for Poetry, Philip Booth Award, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, and Laux/Millar Prize. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and founder of the Caesura Poetry Workshop series. Previous publishing credits include Best American Poetry, Yale Review, Verse Daily, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and TriQuarterly.

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