VANESSA COUTO JOHNSON
When you once turned around holding quail, peers backed, like something would go off. A bee returns to my bagel, unfloral egg and bacon stamen. I laugh at insects’ redundancies while I am alone with this table; the center of each thing is a hole. Beckoning. Holes are hollow loops allowing circuits. The Dun Aonghasa cliff edge lures my feet. Fort withered, stone-edge, the sea repeating below. I could walk off the sublime. Some people stomach the ground, put their faces over the edge. A comedian says that if you can see the face of what you are eating, eat the face first. Stare removal. But don’t move; this is another appetite. The circles of your head, the geometry on your cheeks; I am here with much more than my feet.
You are interested to know what exotic meats I’ve had. I can see living venison from the front door back home. Out your kitchen window, a black cat prepares to fail at pigeon-catching. You prophesize, He’s not gonna get it. He leaps. Birds leave. How did you get this? I ask about the scarline on the top of your head. It is a tale of work, of rush, of lorry, of collapse, then your iron liquid running out. Life is a phase with sudden onsets of rust. You stir a redness in a pot. The vegetables are always silent. It’s the knife that makes the sound. Alloy of movement. A spoon is a hollow belly, its work to fill as easily as emptied—possession not objective.
Vanessa Couto Johnson’s chapbook Life of Francis was the winner of Gambling the Aisle's 2014 Chapbook Contest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Cheat River Review, Cobalt Review, Toad Suck Review, and elsewhere. She currently teaches at Texas State University, where she earned her MFA.