By Julie Allyn Johnson in Issue Four, May 2022

Watch as I tend
these ice-blue flames,
poking and prodding
every faltering gash.
Lean in as I expatriate the spark
and sizzle
of kindred combatants.

My hell-mouth
of animus.

Distillation by fire,
the hiss and whine
of the Great Machine,
its clunk and growl
of rotors and gears—
witness the mechanism
that grinds me down
deburrs every jagged seam
sucks out
every nib of defiance.

Observe the process
infinitesimal measures
of quality control
  there are no standards, no specifications

yet it spits me out—

Go now. Figure out this life of yours.

—then damns me every time.

© 2022 Julie Allyn Johnson

Julie Allyn Johnson

Julie Allyn Johnson, a sawyer’s daughter from the American Midwest, loves long walks in the woods. She digs Halloween, photography, gravel-travel, art, poetry and haiku, reading and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Her current obsession is tackling the rough and tumble sport of quilting and the accumulation of fabric. Julie prefers black licorice over red, cigarette-length Tootsie Rolls and Hot Tamales, practically the perfect candy. Her poetry can be found in various journals including Lyrical Iowa, The Briar Cliff Review, Phantom Kangaroo, The Disappointed Housewife, Anti-Heroin Chic, Coffin Bell, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Better Than Starbucks and Chestnut Review.

Poetry by Julie Allyn Johnson
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