mantra review

Spring 2018


Daily Bread

“The memories of men are too frail a thread to hang history from.”

—John Still, The Jungle Tide

Slumped over the shoulders of these broken horses a few dead men wear their bodies like roads wear rain. Just a brief heaviness hobbling them to the surface of the world. Then vapor. Nothing much to own now. Steam columns off the saunter and sway of beast and body like incense choking the aisle between pews. Not much sky overhead, or need for sky with so many holes unfilled all around us. Impossible to know the color of the dead, but my great-great-great grandfather is driving them all into a gunmetal distance. Mountains move to the side as they pass, wolf not far behind. Dry streambeds and snarled oak and all the required awe such a scene should evoke. I am in awe of where we came from, that there is nothing that fails to share my name.

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

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