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Sophie Johnson


don’t mistake this for a lament // yes i crack the spines of all my books and yes there is so much
that i have forgotten there are years of my life they sit motionless in a gated circle in my brain
and yes i am here stupid mouth dry and infertile / yes i know now why the snakes licked my ears
i know what i am capable of now / yes i have become vain as my belly has grown soft and skin
scaly / & yes i wish i could forget the hands that thoughtlessly bruised the summer’s last peach /
i’m always in a state of yearning / there is always something better in the distance / i move west
from nod / but here the heatwave melts powerlines & kills the ladybugs / softshell orange dots
choregraph the pavement / wait for the tasseographers to arrive / anything can be an omen if you
have enough fear in your fingers / i crush their bodies with my bare feet so no one will have the
chance to tell me something i cannot see / wind will pull their remains to soil / prepare tomorrow
to do it again

“touched by fire”

most of it is untrue but that doesn’t make it not real // you see i understand now that I am not
from here i cannot explain it to you / a different realm / & I don’t want to give it up and be in
time always in time be cloaked in the film of a million streetlamps / Bless’d only by
forgetfulness / a Brain pleads the fifth a Body remembers / I want potential and kinetic energy
bound by fragility in the star-suckled zero hour / not all my breath spent trying to conquer &
swallow / I want to be Undone again & Untouchable by gravity and divine / it wasn’t always like
this / but it was always going to be this way / before there was a girl / a child untouched / she
used to collect opihi shells and gather plumerias fallen from their trees / sun-kissed syrup / she
tried once to fly hands strapped to her sides and got 7 stitches in her forehead after she hit the
ground / headfirst / unbraced / she plays in a wet reel in my head / gods / i want to stop staring /
Why can’t i just look away

Sophie Johnson resides with her kitten in Seattle.             


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