By: Melissa Fite Johnson
When I was five, I ran away. August.
I packed nothing but wore my winter coat.
I’d be gone long enough to need it.
I imagined myself in a snow storm,
my mother biting her lip in worry at home
while I found an uninhabited log cabin.
The gun rack by the front door
would teach me to hunt; the fishing pole
in the mudroom would teach me to fish.
My mother found me still in the backyard,
seized my shoulders and shook.
I startled at her wet eyes and cheeks.
Tonight, watching flakes design patterns
on glass, I’m the mittened figure inside
a snow globe. How to describe the sound:
No running engine. No radio. Ice soft
on the windshield, a small spoon
scratching against my mother’s sugar bowl.
Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband and dogs in Lawrence, Kansas. Connect with her at melissafitejohnson.com.