Wednesday Sep 20

Olivia-Johnson Olivia Johnson currently resides in Tallahassee and is a third year M.F.A. student in poetry at Florida State University. She is originally from Ohio.
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In Your Garage
 
 
You’ve been crying. I’ve tucked worry into my knees
            like an uneven hemline on an otherwise perfect party dress. 
                        We can’t help each other out with wine or cigarettes –
            loss continues to hang itself like a holy ghost between us. 
 
Nine hours north your parents’ house sinks its foundation
            into the red Nebraska dirt. They’re skipping Easter,
                        your father making some excuse about feeling warm,
            thinking he should see a doctor. The same, sorry static. 
 
No pastel card or golden chocolate coin arrived in the mail,
            no sign from God that you need to turn thirteen again,
                        to curse them into tiny figurines, manageable, smaller
            than the ash that slips from the tip of your cigarette.
 
But there is family among these slack-jawed orange trees.
            Though you refuse the beach because you can’t
                        hear what’s coming between thedunes, you may learn to love
            the sand for the century-old grit it will plant between your toes.
 
Think of the way your boy’s eyes will brighten when you pour
            godless granules into a two dollar water bottle and place it
                        on his bookshelf. See how each grain replicates itself
            like a fucked-up mirror? We all have our club-feet, our varicose veins. 
 
Think of your mother, loving you from outside
            of her womb, the dark settling into her shoulders
                        like an immovable shawl. Her hands look nothing
            like yours, her lips twist into a convex diagram of birth.   
 
Packing boxes have been stacked like brown sardines
            along the walls of your garage for months. But somehow,
                        we always find ourselves forgiving your lover’s lazy streak, 
            because we know our love languages too well.