Peter Johnson

A Nun to be Named
June 25, 2019 Johnson Peter

A Nun to Be Named Later

I’ve been thinking about the nun who wouldn’t let me pee in fifth grade.
There is no need to know her name.
She is dead and most of her clumsy cruelties have died with her.
But tell me: Who can you trust?
I trust the geese who are too stupid to migrate this winter.
I double-park to say hello.
I want to explain that I’m on a quest for authenticity.
They’re stumbling about, cold but apparently very happy.
They are like the lilies of the field, and so on and so forth.
I go back to the car and listen to a Miles Davis CD.
Supposedly, Miles stopped playing when he could no longer hear the music.
Was he telling the truth?
The truth is her name was Sister Josepha.
It makes no sense to hold a grudge.

Peter Johnson almost singlehandedly revived the currency of the prose poem during the nineties and early oughts with his journal The Prose Poem, which has now been digitized in full by the Phillips Memorial Library at Providence College. In addition to reviving Russell Edison’s career, Johnson has had a substantial impact on establishing the arc of the prose poem in contemporary poetry from its provenance in  Aloyisius Betrand and Baudelaire to such  James Tate, Denise Duhammel, Charles Simic, Nin Andrews, Harriet Mullen, Jeff Friedman, Robert Bly, Bill Knott, Stephen Berg, Mark Strand, David Ignatow,  and W.S. Merwin. His new anthology of prose poems, The Cast Iron Airplane That Actually Flies is scheduled for publication this fall.