About the Feature

Photo by Bureau of Land Management California


Without future, I sharpen, I flint.

Flushed as I am with fever, I’ve dismantled
my cloud of fright, whispers spent

on nights under the wrong moon.

By the windowsill, the tomato plant
watches as I cut its fruit into pieces.

This is a lesser paradise. I fallow

among objects forgotten to map
and shatter. All night children

drop dice into the Los Angeles River

that flirts into my window, come out
darkling, come out wherever you are—

in a different life, a shock would be enough

to change me, summer fooling my brain
with wild open. I would stand in a storm

of lightning, offer my body to electricity,

to you, my thunder. My face, heavy-lidded
with daze, the flash of escape, a spark.

But here, the lost hills collect before us

between my face and your back, abandoned
distance bedded by noon and midnight.

How do we wonder, how do we begin again.

About the Author

L. A. Johnson is from California. She is the author of the chapbook Little Climates (Bull City Press, 2017). She is currently a Provost’s Fellow pursuing her PhD at the University of Southern California. Her poems have recently appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, Southern Review, and elsewhere.