Judy Johnson

Judy Johnson has published three poetry collections, a verse novel and a novel.  In 2011 she spent a month at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland as part of the Varuna Alumni exchange program. A poetry collection is forthcoming in 2012.



The Right Fit

Always your thoughts
          too big,
                too small
for the world.

As though a seamstress
took your measure early on

with a cool yardstick

and what was kept for the record
was an outline

you immediately outgrew.

There is no cure
for not living in the moment

but it can’t hurt to ponder

the methodical dust
released by its action

of the tailor’s chalk mark.

It can’t hurt to meditate
              with a mouthful of pins.


Words, after an absence

Tend the graves of photographs,
              love letters, dried daisies.

Finger the devotions
one by one
             like knots in a prayer rope.

Gather inklings and injuries
as kindling for fire.

Attune to textures

the soft crystals of silence
in the air above old monasteries. 

Listen to which footsteps

on the heart’s risers
produce a squeak 

and which treads
are noisless. 

Accept that the poem already exists
in no known language
          and in perfect order.

And now that your task
is impossible 

take the one tool you have.

          Try hard to find
a way back to the page

          with words.

                   Try harder to do no harm.