VANESSA COUTO JOHNSON
Vanessa Couto Johnson's poems have appeared in THRUSH and FIELD most recently, as
well as Blackbird, Cheat River Review, cream city review, and other journals. Her third
chapbook, speech rinse, won Slope Editions' 2016 Chapbook Contest. Her second chapbook
is rotoscoping collage in Cork City (dancing girl press, 2016), and her first chapbook, Life of
Francis, won Gambling the Aisle's 2014 Chapbook Contest. She is currently a Lecturer at
Texas State University (USA), where she earned her MFA.
Our AC goes out by midnight
one day after the summer solstice.
You show me a video of a four-legged
robot on ice slip and recover.
Everyone has their airless story.
Your brother in the north opens
a window. The aproned
tell me their's went out, too—
the grill continued its warm yawn—
and the power left the ceiling
fans. Another woman says this is the first
time this year so far that she has turned
on her AC. She sees a shirt with flamingos
and says she is "not sure about penguins."
She picks another swimsuit of flower print
to be well watered.
Pages of wrinkled calculus / I suggested for the sun
I tell him to not leave
the textbook outside
overnight because of dew.
Earlier: he went in the rain
to find his car among uphill pooling,
and now the math books
he teaches from and a tabletop
roleplaying game book are saturated.
He turns every page. Leaflets veined.
At my advice, he sets the textbook on the porch,
a numbered animal belly up.
A wet-dry vac slinks into our garage
after a visit to Lowe's—as his
car carpet still wet four
days later—with the vac overpriced
at the register. Of course its cord is three
feet long. Of course another something
must make up for our imprecision,
say a fifty-foot extension sort.
Back to Front.