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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1951, Peter Johnson received the James Laughlin Award for his second collection of prose poems...
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FURTHER READING
Other Prose Poems
A Supermarket in California
by Allen Ginsberg
About Foam
by Caroline Bergvall
Be Drunk
by Charles Baudelaire
Einstein Defining Special Relativity
by A. Van Jordan
Exoskeletal Gesture
by Eric Baus
Gnosis
by Theodore Worozbyt
Marble Hill
by Kazim Ali
RPT MC-60 00.27 8
by Tan Lin
Seurat
by Ira Sadoff
The List of Famous Hats
by James Tate
The Prose Poem
by Campbell McGrath
The Secret of Light
by James Wright
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Just Listen

 
by Peter Johnson

I sit by the window and watch a great mythological bird go down in flames. In fact, it’s a kite the neighborhood troublemaker has set on fire. Twenty-one and still living at home, deciding when to cut through a screen and chop us into little pieces. “He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” his mother would say, as they packed our parts into black antiseptic body bags. I explain this possibility to the garbage men. I’m trying to make friends with them, unable to understand why they leave our empty cans in the middle of the driveway, then laugh as they walk away. One says, “Another name for moving air is wind, and shade is just a very large shadow”—perhaps a nice way to make me feel less eclipsed. It’s not working, it’s not working. I’m scared for children yet to be abducted, scared for the pregnant woman raped at knife point on the New Jersey Turnpike, scared for what violence does to one’s life, how it squats inside the hollow heart like a dead cricket. My son and his friends found a dead cricket, coffined it in a plastic Easter egg and buried it in the backyard. It was a kind of time capsule, they explained—a surprise for some future boy archeologist, someone much happier than us, who will live during a time when trees don’t look so depressed, and birds and dogs don’t chatter and growl like the chorus in an undiscovered Greek tragedy.







Copyright © 2006 by Peter Johnson. From Eduardo & I. Reprinted with permission of White Pine Press.
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