Joel F. Johnson
I'm a businessman and chronic English major who began writing poetry about ten years ago. Sometimes, I find myself switching back and forth between a spreadsheet and an unfinished poem. My first book of poems, Where Inches Seem Miles, was published by Antrim House at the end of 2013. In 2014, Kirkus Reviews selected it as one of the best books of the year in the Indie category. I've benefited from workshops at the Concord Poetry Center and from the journals which have published my work, including Rattle, Blackbird, and Salamander. My website, joelfjohnson.com, includes a few videos where I've attempted to combine a reading with appropriate images.
Shakespeare’s Wife, Anne, After His Death
But I have what your will forgets. Each page
touched by your pen, word crossed out, every play,
part and line, each direction for the stage,
so much paper to keep or give away,
enough, I think, to fill a man-sized box.
All that buttery sweetness, pots of ink
poured out for made-up love. How your heart knocked
for any woman but me! Yes, I think
I’ll let you sleep with Portia on your breast.
What would I do with what the great Will wrote?
Best to let you lie with what you loved best,
your comfort when the flesh begins to bloat.
The pages you adored have found their home
and cursed be he who moves my husband’s bones.
-previously published in Where Inches Seem Miles
©2016 Joel Johnson