Vanessa Couto Johnson

fist things fist

Unguent for the urgent
is the only way I can calm.

I sing the bodily autonomy:

my discharge rever
-berates again

-st what the cabin
-et insists.

My sympathies on
your circum-

cision or -stantial nonself s-
elected. Fore, score
and uneven passes today,

a new shag dries by the fire
-place. My cycle tires

easily. I’m sore and sorry,
pumping the air.

heavens to murgatroyd (Snagglepuss Ghazal)

All the world’s an exclamation; that is the fact
-orial we’ve elected to multiply, even.

Punctuality is an early-riser’s punctuation.
What kind of sentence starts before sunrise, even.

Hark, what sort of sudden unexpected dagger
I see before me; backstage passed to me, even.

Who died and made your directorial debut. I bet
your enfant terrible’s budget was infinite, even.

Methinks I should order in a caterer’s spread,
but I shan’t cook up the right kiss, even.

I myself have become a Van of deliverables;
say it ain’t so that I missed the left exit lane, even.

Vanessa Couto Johnson (she/they) is the author of the full-length poetry books Pungent dins concentric (Tolsun Books, 2018) and forthcoming pH of Au (Parlor Press, Free Verse Editions Series 2022), as well as three poetry chapbooks. Most recently, their poems have appeared in Pine Hills Review, streetcake, Scrawl Place, Star 82 Review, and Superstition Review. A Brazilian born in Texas (dual citizen), VCJ has taught at Texas State University since 2014.