Poetry by AC Johnston

Song for the Years After a Drunk Driver Killed You     
In other lifetimes you’ll live longer. 
You’ll be long vowel, round, O –  
Like an ouroboros, on and on.
You’ll be slow echo.

When you became root
we planted gardens – 
then we prayed to antlers,
to remind us how to use
our hands and one another. 

In dreams, I saw you often. 
You never said a word.

Begging you, I’d say, say
something, something. Say
perennial, say phase, say shrapnel, 
or say wound. Say lesion, 
marrow or mirth. 

Say caution, 
              car wreck. 

Show me birds, bleating
for help in late June. 

In the advent of silence, 
Say you’re all spirit. 
Say it in smoke. Let it leave
your half-cold mouth in ribbons.

Say you’re the midnight curtain.
You have fingers that embroider, 
you puncture shade, let light leak
into tiny-treasure-pits, crafting stars.

Say you’ll aim the moonlight;
let it fall on your mother  
and let it drape her in gold. 

Play the strings for this day
Say carnations, coyotes, coffins – 
say fire, trial, or mercy.

I’ll say labyrinth:
            That is where you are.

Say you’re anywhere that
the ashes have toured since.

Say psalms for the ease of rain, 
but let me watch the flood. 

O – 
Say you’ll come back. Say goodbye. 

A.C. Johnston was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. She is a professional modern dancer and poet who currently lives and works in New York City.


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