May 20, 2014

Since Then, Like a Wild Thing I Have Grown by Couri Johnson

You’re always sneezing. Your allergies, they’re bad.
Sometimes when we drive together, there are
bubbles of silence so thick that even the radio
can’t needle through them. So,
I asked you to tell me something about myself.

You told me I never say bless you.
There are too many dandelions
on the side of the road, pollinating. It is thick
as mud inside your lungs.

Last night I had a dream my mother was a giant, that
she had gone away and become her own nation.
If I comb my hair back, I can fool everyone.
They will think I am a wolf cub reared by humans,
and they will take me back.

Would that make you laugh? My mother wasn’t
rude, she just didn’t do things the way she should,
in small situations. You said that I don’t say bless you,
and I don’t. I’m glad you noticed, and I’m sorry.
If you want, I could eat the heads off the dandelions
for you, but I like the space your sneezes take up.
If I make you a mixtape of coughs, would
you listen? I need to tell you about that day, I know.
Manners do nothing in the end.

I had kept holding my mother’s hand.
I had kept saying please.
It stayed limp and cold,
like a slice of thawed ham.

Couri Johnson lives in Youngstown, Oh where she is a student of the NeoMFA and is the current head editor of Jenny.  She lives mostly off of sugar and pizza, and people tell her her teeth are offensive. 

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