Sally J. Johnson


I drive a car the size of a blue whale’s heart. My own,
as big as the gear shifter but feels different: is the space
a single, knotted eye takes up on an oak floor. A fig
in a large hand. An ant. A wastepaper basket below a desk.

I never wanted to be your two-dimensional love
screen. Not your sticky star ceiling all puttied up.
I wanted to be the sky, the real one, wringing out
diamonds in Saturn’s atmosphere. Wanted to be
a lava lake inside you. Instead I spit the seeds
of our watermelon love. Lost every single one
of your feathers in a desert state. I was sorry
about that. Ask my shower curtain how much I cried.

At least I remember how your lips felt: full and full of blood.
Not some pair of bony darts. Not some knuckles over backbone.
Even my mother still loves you. Even my dog. Even you have to admit
that it hurts to look at a scar no matter how long since it healed.

Sally J. Johnson received her MFA from UNC at Wilmington where she served as Managing Editor for Ecotone. Her poetry and nonfiction can be read or is forthcoming from the Collagist, Bodega, the Pinch, Weave, Treehouse, and elsewhere.

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