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’s most recent collection of poems is Uncommon Prayer (Persea Books, 2014).   Other recent books include Made Flesh: Sacrament and Poetics in Post-Reformation England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) and Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry, co-edited with Jay Hopler (Yale University Press, 2013).  Her translation of Hesiod is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press.