/abby johnson

Portrait Of Panic As Apology

The firefly arcs like a shooting star
around the windshield into my open
palm stuck out the window.

The fox is dead,
crushed like the green
budding plants under rubber.

The rabbit starves
in the window well behind
my rented room.

The deer is splayed
on the road’s shoulder with its face
a nest of flies. Look too long and I become

firefly, fox, rabbit,
deer, knotted hunk
of fur, bloody entrails

peppered with dirt, dead
cardinal gleaming with frost, look long
enough and I become unseen

and witnessless. I apologize
to my eyes, my window
well, my tires, my palm.

Portrait Of Panic As Flock Of Geese

I am awakened by honking, torn
from thin throats and it sounds like struggling
for breath. Through the trees, I see a field
of beaks, these gray bodies squealing
panicked sounds. First there are enough
to frighten a child, then rush a car, then panic
the sky. They let loose from their bellies
into frosty gray air. I want to run
through them, flapping my arms, blowing
an air horn. I want to scatter them
into the horizon so their desperate
chirruping drifts away on the wind.
I want to join them, lift my chin
to the sky, and fail to breathe quietly.

Abby Johnson is a poet and a Hoosier who is proud of the local art scene that fostered her. She received her MFA in Creative Writing through Butler University. During her time there, she served as Poetry Co-Editor for Booth: A Journal. Her micro-chapbook “No Line Except” is published through Ghost City Press. Her chapbook Opportunity Cost was published through Frontier Poetry. She has individual pieces published in Turnpike Magazine, Josephine Quarterly, The Indianapolis Review, and Sycamore Review.