by Stephanie Johnson
Featured Art: Lady Lilith – Dante Rossetti
Move to a different country.
Take a new spouse.
Make beautiful different-country babies
with soft, different-country hair
and only speak your old-country language
late at night in between dreams.
Your new husband will ask the following morning
who this person is; you keep repeating his name.
Oh, you say, in your new language.
Don’t worry about it. Just an old friend.
Build a house. Bake your late spouse’s remains
into the walls. Like the spectrophiliac Amethyst Realm,
feel paranormal hands on your legs and back
as you rub yourself on the corners of the foyer.
Moan the name
your ears haven’t heard
since you reopened the coffin
and saw silver bones.
Meet a woman with dark hair
and patience longer than yours.
Tell her a lie:
you’ve never done this before.
She’ll grin and say, “Sure you haven’t.”
Later, in her shower, pressed against
the pink tile wall, you can’t help but notice
she uses his same shampoo.
Take his ashes to sea
as written in the will.
Throw yourself overboard
with the urn in your arms.
Clutch a pewter cloud
and confuse the stingrays.
Shave your head,
smoke Cowboy Killers,
and take lovers. Flocks of lovers.
Murders of lovers.
In the wan, silent kitchen light
after the trampling herds leave
for the evening, you will pick up
your wedding ring from the dish by the sink
and contemplate, once more,
throwing it into the garbage disposal,
how it would spark and grind
slick in the coffee grounds.
Stephanie Johnson is the recipient of an Asheville Regional Artist Grant and the first-place winner of the 2017 Lumina Magazine Poetry Contest. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Passed Note. Her work has been published by Beecher’s Magazine, Jabberwock Review, and QU, among others. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband and their seven bookshelves. Her website is srenae.com.