Self-Portrait as Mothman

by Ian C. Williams


After Mothman folded the Silver Bridge
into the Ohio River like a wrinkled receipt into his wallet,

like a paper coffin caught in a downpour, he turned away
from the twisted skeleton of steel and concrete

and walked home. He walked alone, his briefcase
full of mishaps and secrets he’ll keep from his family.

After all—what does it matter to them?
Why mention the motorists trapped inside

the open mouth the water makes for what defies it?
Why mention what buries itself below

what soon becomes a smooth line of ice?
He walks home. He opens the door, kisses his wife,

and never speaks of the bridge, the crunch of catastrophe,
the constant, quiet rush of the river in its bed.


Ian C. Williams is a poet and teacher from Appalachia. He is also the editor-in-chief for Jarfly: A Poetry Magazine. In 2019, Williams received a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Oklahoma State University, and his debut full-length collection of poems, Every Wreckage, is forthcoming from Fernwood Press in 2023. He currently lives with his wife and two sons in Fairmont, West Virginia. Ian is on Twitter @ianwilliamspoet and is website his

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