Kimberly Johnson

April 25, 2019 Johnson Kimberly


Heaven-selvage, twilight eyelet opened
Through the wind-
Scrubbed drab at the ridgeline,

Splash of freshet nestled into stone,
What with bone-
Dry, blasted me have you to do?

Gentiana verna, do not intimate
Of spring,
Do not rouse the secret

Bee that waggles in my breast to honey
To your hue,
What have you to do with me?

Do with me, flash lapis lazuli
Swatched from the hem
Of some Flemish madonna,

What you will, O do you subsume me
In deepwater blue.
Do me cerulean through.

When you welkin me, whelm like a brigand,
Like the whole couloir’s
A blue desire before whose force

My will must break. Blossom, will I break
Faith with this rough-
Cast, this cherished chaff,

This earthbound habit for your unearthly?,
Can I forsake
This my sure estate for your ec-

Stasies on spec, for your fathomless X?

Kimberly Johnson is the author of four poetry collections, including most recently Fatal (Persea
Books, 2022), written largely in response to the terminal diagnosis of her late spouse, the poet
Jay Hopler. Her translation of Virgil’s Georgics, which includes the earliest narration of the now-
familiar story of Orpheus and Eurydice, was published by Penguin Classics in 2009. Recipient
of fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the Utah Arts
Council, Johnson has recent work in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series and in
The Best American Poetry 2020.