An Almanac

Joseph Johnson




This pass into space

creates half-chances. 

One part: the body


brought with it. 

We were silent, unspecific. 

The other: starve-heart-


arisen, a slow-twitch

muscle of discussion,

damp in the ungroomed


drama of leaves

on our knees. Crisp seeds

tumbled off stalks


cut sharp by the known

future, not what we



Your love of fear. 

My darker flame. 

The natural wing. 


I watched a sunset

with no comment. 

The sky spilled-


upon with thick ink,

a half-moon,

a day had been. 


Those same seeds

descended all night

in sacred fashion. All night


I heard them hit the earth. 

I heard birds chirp

in the dark. 


Below the dirt,

worms & buried fur

& new millennium


time-capsules took in

vibrations. Tremors

of seed-storm. Constant. 


Awakened was my far-off

awe of your every moment,

each loose clip


in your hair or kept

on your sweater. 

I’m an almanac


of false frights, freight

folded from its rails

falling from a cutbank


in the floodplain, storm

warnings on static,

news of a pet


dropped soft

in the ditch, all loosening-

into, hatching bacteria. 


It’s almost rain-

smelling while some bright

bird wrapped


in its own wings

rolls in the road

in the wind. 


Not everything responds

to sustenance

or is thus sustained. 


So the strange-triangle

hangnails of dried-up

earth appear. So life


sinks out of reach. 

Is such wakelessness

ours to keep?


My better explorations

of mossed thought in your eye?

In unspecified space


a whistle splits at your lips,

blown free of itself.

& a terrible calm


climbs over me. 

The whistle spreads,

singing emptiness


loses hope of you

falling in. Emptiness falls

asleep like a theater.








JOSEPH JOHNSON is a teacher in New Meadows, Idaho. His work has appeared in Big Big Wednesday and Forklift, Ohio.