Lake Effect, Spring 2020, Volume 24: "Square Dance at Dusk"

Square Dance at Dusk

By John Sibley Williams


Not golden. More the off-yellow of old rust.

It’s easy to say it’s the sky


adopting the color of the hay on the floor & the bleached streaks

in her hair


& that everything is at heart a mockingbird.


This fiddle could be any fiddle. These bodies move like bodies.

It’s been this way for four hundred years; this furor



of limbs, carefully chosen steps

toward & away from thrall,


bourbon & boarded up mills, the world leaning on tired stars.


At this time of night, well before the loving

has begun, the windows

are full of staring crows.


The unlit face of the moon is as bright as the true.


If there’s a difference between unjoining & reuniting, I hope we never learn it.