Elaine Johanson

Elaine Johanson is a Philadelphia based writer, photographer, and videographer. She teaches writing in the Graphic Design department at the University of the Arts. She graduated from Bowdoin College (BA) and Columbia University (MFA).




Mother upon mother,
you hold me in
this sometimes coffin,

sometimes cocoon.
Nested in the dank
of your overripe bodies,

I invent
bramble bit shins,
the milk skin of men,

and orchards dense as fur
where sun-rushed fruits
split and bleed.

But whispered
warnings pack me in
like cotton:

too close lie the curling roads
where wolves as thousand
as bees

make bruises of
their yellow eyes and gnaw
their teeth sharp again.

They’re hungry for fire
and fat, for any starblind
thing new released

into the air. My mothers
pull their skirts
and tuck me deeper in.

I lose my flint,
let longing synchronize
our layered hearts as

a fresh daughter
glimmers, coughs
her lungs open,

and bumps her elbows
against the stone egg
of we.

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