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.