Two Poems by Dynas Johnson

when we cook breakfast together, i forget that i’m supposed to be sad 

cheeks stuffed with rice and eggs 

plastic masks long laid out to be recycled 

the smile you give me is a moon made 

from a sugar cookie     nibbling the edges

of the constellations we’ve been sowing 

into our garden for years now     

when we wash the dishes and head out 

to water our blue daisies and bluebirds 

i map the colors pooling within my vision

like a song like the slow leak of ice cream:

another year of good crops 

 tomorrow’s a forest of images:

 polaroids dangling from their branches 

 climbing up and up the staircase lined

 with vcrs        analog timeline where 

 we’re eternal               textured like grits 

 sugared over and honeyed we keep the dust 

 from spreading too far        this is a kind of love

 that sets in the bones and heats the entire body 

 thermal energy rising like stir fry smoke 

 garlic pepper chili under the tongue 

 there’s a reason the cold has no home here 

    my love for you simmers: 

    broth seeping out of chicken bones

    waiting for potatoes and carrots and leeks

    savory steam curls away from our skin 

    rising like morning dew setting like names

    rubbed into drying concrete stuck like animal 

    stickers on our pcs                    when my heart pops open 

    from a bad dream you’re not startled by the fear

    pouring from my eyes like spoiled m&m’s minis

    you gather me into your arms and whisper our to-do-list 

    against my eyelids              the bad dream evaporates 

    you open the window to let out the smoke 

losing time/life lived through reruns 

while listening to “cheap vacations” by tobi lou

blue window         my reliable reminder of sky 

i stick my head through your frame to hear the streets better 

glittering with sunlight            i miss       i’m full of missing 

the summer’s gone the holidays are almost gone but you’re still 

blue and at least all the flowers haven’t died in my hands 

i haven’t left the apartment in several days

i woke up today and thought it was still tuesday

it’s thursday        and this is the second time i’ve lost time

                days adding up and suddenly subtracting 

traveling my body forwards leaving my mourning/mornings behind 

                         huh? it’s already trash day? i wonder if i’ll get 

                         to see my neighbors this time i haven’t gotten 

                        to say hi to them in a long time i wonder if they know it’s thursday 

i put on my favorite sneakers to go to rite aids 

peek through the isles for faces that aren’t here they’re 

quarantining with their pods across the city and i miss them 

i stand in a line full of human beings holding dove soap doritos shaving cream 

normal small groceries normal durags scarves leggings jackets but i can’t 

see anyone’s faces 

i felt the cold of my ice cream eating a bruise into my forearm 

outside it’s december but today it’s 65 degrees and sweat is seeping into the neck of my hoodie 

i left rite aids feeling accomplished and needy and very spacey 

i go to rite aids to get lost in the snack aisle      pretend i’m having a sleepover with all my friends

when i get home i hear a click from somewhere and relief i remember is only temporary 

tomorrow i’ll wake up and put on the same worn pajamas 

tomorrow i’ll rewind the video and pretend it’s a new episode

tomorrow i’ll text my friends and look on twitter jump to lunch because i skipped breakfast 

try to remember what a breeze against my cheeks feel like 

later tonight i’ll press my face against the glass and mourn my inability to hold 

hands with my beloveds 

later tonight i’ll draw the covers over my head and hope i don’t dream 

when the moon sets i’ll mouth 

at the suggestion of morning filtering through the leaves 

and try again 

A recent graduate from Temple University, Dynas Johnson was the vice president and an editor for SONKU, a university-founded organization for BIPOC creatives. She has poems published in Sooth Swarm Journal, Rogue Agent, Vagabond City Lit, Memoir Mixtapes, and others. Find her at or on Twitter @Dynasthepoet. 

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