Robert K. Johnson
Born in New York City (in Elmhurst), I lived in several different places there but have memories only of The Bronx (off Fordham Road). Then my family moved out "on The Island"—to Lynbrook, where we stayed till I graduated from Hofstra (then a College). Several years after my wife, Pat, and I married, we, plus our two children, settled in the Boston area and have remained there (except for my daughter, Kate, who has lived in Manhattan for quite a while). I have been writing poetry since I was twelve (many moons ago).
A March Dawn
From deep behind
the drooped rhododendron,
the dark shadow
of a bird
darts down to see
if a smudge of ground
thawed free of snow
might bare a crumb
for its beak.
Chris, who did all the readings
teachers assigned, was the only one
in our high school I told my secret.
Who knew that after a week of classes
and a Saturday night party or dance,
I headed home and stayed up for hours
doing what, if my other classmates knew,
would have triggered their disdain:
I read Steinbeck, Wolfe, Flaubert
and, worse, wrote poetry.
So it was to me that Chris, in turn,
revealed his secret. Late on weekend nights
he walked—his parents could not
afford a car—to the spacious home
that Sheila Franklin returned to
after her date with one of the males,
dull as fizzless soda — but from money,
her parents pressured her to see.
Chris would go to the back of the house,
noiselessly open the porch's screen door
and move through moon shadows
to where Sheila, her face uplifted,
sat in a chair waiting for him
while I wrote a poem imagining the scene.
previously published in MUDDY RIVER POETRY REVIEW
©2016 Robert K. Johnson
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