by Lauren Connell Johnson

I only gave you road head
because your ex-wife got you first on Interstate 65.

The gray sky a belly over frozen marshes,
you pointing out barn quilts as we passed them,

while I grew jealous of barn quilts
and the land itself.

You were fearless­.
You didn’t care if a deer pitched itself before your car,

forced you to slam your breaks with no concern
for my teeth.

You married a sweet-faced girl on Floyd County farmland;
I knew about the pews her father built.

I thought circles inside your wedding day,
as if the memory were mine. Still,

I flew to you from California, in winter,
certain we would last until the sandhill cranes returned,

because you said you saw how hard I tried to love

you and this land.

Lauren Connell Johnson attributes her upbringing in Florida, America’s weirdest state, to her interest in the ecological and surreal. She earned her MFA from American University and has appeared in the Museum of Science Fiction, Oracle Fine Arts Review, and others. She lives in San Francisco.