May 2017

The Child in Wonder Falling on Grass

         by Donna Johnson


Spring’s early heat turns you to dervish.

Your knees soiled green from tumbles,

with wild screams you protest mother’s firm grip.

Then, minutes later you sleep, curled in her lap.

Smells of coming rain, mud, and wild onion

surround you, while farther, only inches

in the great scheme, expands the black unbreathable,

which astronauts say smells like burning tungsten.

This year, the black drop of Venus will mar

the perfect sphere of our small dense star.

A middling yellow one among millions similar,

It warms your skin, the grass, the dirt below the grass,

as it absorbs the remnants of supernovas

bursting their whipped cores.


From Selvage by Donna Johnson (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon) 2013.

Donna Johnson is the author of Selvage published by Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her poems and reviews have been published in Birmingham Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Cafe Review, Green Mountains Review, Perihelion, and other journals. She won Cutbank magazine’s annual poetry contest and was a finalist for the Patricia Dobler Award.