Tucson Hymnal: Late Night                                                                          —Julie Swarstad Johnson

Residents of the dark we comfort one
another We think of the thrashers

nesting in the hideous palm tree the rusted cars
a yardful housing

cats their moaning They shake off the full moon
bright enough to take our trash

down the alley Our porch lights carport lights
competing always on

They pierce the shades the shutters to ask
are you there insistent

even tender through every hour They fall
constellate across our pillows

Our beds become a star chart Our place
mapped by light we don’t own

Tucson Hymnal: Parable

We don’t own each other We let them go
those two houses absurd

with posts and signs between the yards Who knows
what it’s about that fight

diverting our morning walks Look at yourself
we say that anger steadfast

as rainwater surging towards the lowest point
Of course our streets flood

We paved over the washes the streets become
a river The water couldn’t

care less It knows no reason Cut open the curb
and dig a basin The water

will flame up there into penstemon’s pink glory
Don’t pretend it’s only ours

photo: Becka Ranta

photo: Becka Ranta

Julie Swarstad Johnson is a poet and writer who lives in Tucson, Arizona. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Jumping the Pit (Finishing Line Press, 2015). She has been the recipient of a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and has served as Artist in Residence at Gettysburg National Military Park. She works at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. www.julieswarstadjohnson.com

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2018