Sophie Johnson

I used to stare at the ceiling
I’d stare for hours after my mom would tuck me in
and crack the door
and my mom knew that,
all moms do
so my mom showed me how to stop
staring at the ceiling
you start at your toes
work up to your head
and you move each part
mattress connection
massages of the air

painted silver
the chain of balls
that holds the pen to the desk at the post office
each mini globe a servant to its neighbor,
forced friends, soldered lovers
holding on for dear life

two straws in a gin and tonic
bobbing and swaying
a klutzy waltz
swimming around the glass
they settle together
a plastic pair

like the spiral of a notebook
a partnership of metal wire that pierces through papery flesh
over and over it winds
the bottom two have a tendency to come undone
quiet revolution at the bottom of a backpack

two brass door knobs that ache from all the twisting
churned to their limits,
each time,
spring back
resting position, resume waiting
always part of the journey and never the destination,
they feel both useful and used

and now I’m feeling vulnerable, as the world walks up my
I take two pills each morning
wash down the insecurities and labels with compliments:
but I think one got stuck in the wrong tube.
can I cough it up?

my tongue
zambonis across chapped lips
smoothing cracks in the ice that grow with time
the corners, little nicks from skates
that hint down, tempt a frown
a speck of blood sits in the center of the bottom lip
a wet autumn leaf
a piercing of winter

dance as two birds dive towards the water
nearly colliding and yet we breathe
into knowing they never would
their bellies graze the water and it drips off them
as they travel back up
often unclear whether they are fighting or mating
whether they hate or love

my eyes still cut out and glued to the ceiling
wrinkled collage
I flip over and start at my toes again