Kimberly Johnson

June 24, 2016 Johnson Kimberly



Every beauty barbed, from the tiniest mites

Beading the Spanish

Moss in a drapery of bites


To these dark lawns aquiver with itches.

The night buzzes

And pops like a power surge


Through a fluorescent tube. Unmoving

I listen, nightlong

Your body a dear distance


Of sighs beside me. I have married

This predation,

Plighted my troth to its scurry


And sting. I wear like a ring the horizon’s

Compass of un-

Familiars: cormorant,


Hygrometer, whelk, frangipani.

I mouth each strange

Name as a succulent


Vow to love what I will never tame.

Wake, Sweet, and see

Florida tossing my forever bouquet:


In the hurricane blow from the gulf coast

The alligator flag

Fans its bracts, the ghostpalm ghosts.

Kimberly Johnson is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Uncommon Prayer (Persea Books, 2014), as well as of book-length translations of Virgil and Hesiod.  Recipient of fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA, she has recent work in Kenyon Review and ​Harvard Review.