Julie Allyn Johnson

Pitched to the Injured Choir

The werewolf wants meat—
all morning I watched, wrote letters, drank coffee.
There is the tinkle of a cowbell far away,
the old pines are full of poems;
cows will be cows.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
I saw, I saw, and seeing, I came to life.
The holy abracadabra of this evening,
italicizing everything it touches—
and I am the eternal atheist in this story
standing in line to take a passport photo,
a kinship too rickety, or even sizzling, for you.
Now come wordless contemplations
no exhilarations, no fervor, certainly no regret.
A cowbird razzed from a fence rail,
its whisper a caress all down the black
guitar strings snapping
into rust heaps and thistle.
But Daddy had the word from God,
I was as sure as a boy could be.

CENTO NOTES: Starting with the title, all attributions are in the order displayed throughout the poem

Acedia Sestina by Rohan Chhetri
Pizza Night by Sarah Cannovo
Visitation by Deanna Kern Ludwin
Jonathan Houghton in Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters
The night is fresh and cool by Ryokan, translated from the Japanese by John Stevens
Miracle Fair by Wislawa Szymborska
A Blessing by James Wright
Horses by Pablo Neruda, translated from Spanish by Alastair Reid
Circle of Fifths by Rustin Larson
Old Man Eating Alone in a Chinese Restaurant by Billy Collins
Androcles and the Lion, A Eulogy by Emma Johnson-Rivard
Standing in Line to Take a Passport Photo by Anthony Cody
You Are My Destination and Desire, Fading by James Tate
Insomnia at the Solstice by Jane Kenyon
Advice on Burning Manuscripts by Gaylord Brewer
Gettysburg: July 1, 1863 by Jane Kenyon
Power by Dana Levin
Threshold by Ocean Vuong
Great Basin Notes by Stephan Torre
Song for a Phallus by Ted Hughes
The Lanyard by Billy Collins

© Julie Allyn Johnson

Julie Allyn Johnson is a Midwest sawyer’s daughter whose current obsession is tackling the rough and tumble sport of quilting and the accumulation of fabric. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Julie’s poetry can be found in various journals including Star*Line, Briar Cliff Review, Phantom Kangaroo, Loch Raven Review, Coffin Bell, and Chestnut Review.

Back to Main Loch Raven Review Site