A woman wears a Statue of Liberty crown and holds a torch at the Women’s March in New York on Saturday. Credit Sara Hylton/The New York Times via Alaska Dispatch News, January 22, 2017
1. Dry throat I must coat with water or I’ll cough.
2. Dog-sitting for a friend so she can march.
3. The angry parent who checked Facebook
to confirm I’m a liberal teacher.
He might find this poem.
It makes me squirm, the thought he could take
my thoughts from my head. My old professor
always says, It’s easier not to write.
Today, it was easier not to lurch
open the garage, turn the key, thrust myself
into history, into the brave crowd
filling their lungs with songs instead of doubt.
My body won’t speck a grainy photograph.
August 28, 1963, a young girl rested
her arm on a rail, her head on her arm. The video
unspools her at “sweltering with the heat of
oppression.” Every phrase was
a lighted match. Each flame passed through her.
January 21, 2017, what words, what fire
I could have carried home like a torch.
Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Rust + Moth, Broadsided Press, velvet-tail, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas.
Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com. No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
3 EXCUSES FOR NOT MARCHING AND THEN A POEM
by Melissa Fite Johnson