Fall2017Poetry

Spell for a New Pair of Lungs – Sonja Johanson

This is mostly about learning to grow. To let the seeds do what they do, to germinate, to let the plants mature. This is mostly about staying thin so you turn sideways in the wind, so you don’t choke in your sleep. It’s about the pollination, the trees, the Graminaceae, you can only be allergic to what you breathe the most of. It’s the billboard on 26, and the way it took two years to raise the money and reach the top, but in that time the field pines started to come in. This is about you not doing so much, not making so much, the myth of progress, the burden of economy. It’s about the future of ice, whether we will take advantage of the passage, how pollution always makes its way to the poles. You can have tobacco, you just can’t burn it, you can have the bees if you can keep them alive. You can graduate from mask to nasal cannula, but there’s only so much oxygen in the air. If you want more you have to keep the Amazon intact, the oceans clear enough to photosynthesize, you have to promise that the next time you’ll do better and you have to hope for someone else to die.

 


 

Author Bio: Sonja Johanson has recent work appearing in BOAAT, Ninth Letter, Poet Lore, and The Writer’s Almanac. She is a contributing editor at the Eastern Iowa Review, and the author of Impossible Dovetail (IDES, Silver Birch Press), all those ragged scars (Choose the Sword Press), and Trees in Our Dooryards (Redbird Chapbooks). Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine. You can follow her work at www.sonjajohanson.net

The author: zlis@iastate.edu