Nocturne 1


Unknown to closure the rabid alley
run through. Night & plum in plot.

A lengthened tremble over wine,
a pale percent of past to meet you

weak in tides trickling out. Damp
enough to drop your hand I fear

the sparse fields too soon for winter
& browning singular within you.

Perpetual middle. Makeshift house 
swaying from roof in recluse. The cremated

sea bends with box & branch, finds its way 
to drain. Most heads held high despite.

Enough liminal love wound through 
cardboard faces reaches song. 

Young & crammed lie the dying in bed.
From the moon I can bear to hear 

each way you turn away in wooden chair
a watery escape to me you pulse, you platitude.

Nocturne 2


Benched craze of the wool heart,
pulse in the leg reminiscent, rescued.

My urgent miscellaneous to do is
the kite sweeping our heads is the

waiting shoulder. How long has the lake
shimmered in touch, finds itself missing

while I cover my territory, returning 
the gifts one by one, flowers on tightrope

in place. Again for you I wait, a 
fault line. Stepping into the emergency

like lightning-struck child, the list so long 
our bodies cannot stretch & make due.

I can only catch an honest eye temporarily,
the sand lapping rocks which you name. 

The blue photograph I trace to the sun 
& the mist you wear worn only by me

is a lingering held breath 
the fragrance of fear which is home.


Nocturne 3


Fingering the edges conventionally,
a marriage, a sweet-toothed swan

skimming its way through pond & pinnacle.
A fate, the hands clasping, retired bullock

in bed of hay retrieving glassy sheen. 
October free fall. Bits of wind near seizure.

Can happen inside the circumference of loyalty,
a bashful heat from bodies, breach, lurch, search

me till raw limbs. You, farm-like among 
apple trees, wed to your self a whelping

wing, mistake & Pythagorean theorem.
A plow soft with rust curdles hardening earth. 

Please tell me how to exit rooms unnoticed but
with a kiss o exhaled wire & seeing through.



Megan Johnson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a recipient of the Glenn Schaeffer Award in Poetry. Her first collection of poems, The Waiting, won the 2004 Iowa Poetry Prize and will be published in April. In January, she will teach poetry writing courses at Victoria University.