[summer] I ride my bike down the dappled road, wanting only to smell quartz in hot bands across the shore. Mossy stone walls pound down and remind me of the fragility of light, a diffuse desire to taste meaning, to see moonstone crack as porcelain mirrors refract eyes and eyes. I center myself in the idea of hydrangeas: the filmed negative of color assumed to be real. Underground, not much happens while sunflowers burst with seed in heat that streams off your body. I watch you from the edge of the bluff, how you caress him, how I don’t. How I turn and find my bed emptier for holding another person waiting for me. Outside, canvases trap grains of sand in drying paint. The colors shimmer and pines bow as light is thrown across trunks, revealing Earth’s dome bent to knots. How to realize waves are glass, how everything is seen through the lens of your body. [winter] A candle lit on my windowsill flickers against the snow falling under sodium streetlights. I wait for you to come, my brushes dipped in water as I smear red and blue across the negative space, the grit of possibility. Days are short and dark, and I know I have more important things to discuss than sunsets in December, but what is the point in setting free the scalding sun? I catch Styrofoam on fire and watch it bubble, turn pink and melt to pools of oil. Static in the sky seen as stars mirrors your journey through the storm. I pull cards to tell me what I want to hear, to tell me that this is the right way forward. That I’ll soon forget about the twisting vines of summer. Fingers dipped in the stream of my consciousness, hermits light lanterns in the pine forest. I hear your stomping boots, and as you knock, I pretend you’re someone else.
(thank you to Diane Seuss for inspiration)
-- E.W.I. Johnson is a poet living and working in Chicago. He grew up in West Michigan and is currently earning his MFA at Northwestern University. He has poems published or forthcoming in Lone Mountain Literary Society, Snarl, and Sonora Review.