by Brian Johnson

I pray that I continue to love the resemblance of things.
When the rocks become human nipples, wheat becomes the
spines of fish, the trees are a family of wooden kings, and
the train from Istanbul arrives at noon, dressed as a bride, I
have no questions.

I pray to the cinematic flame. It is a turn, a moment of
uneasiness, the first time alone in a foreign country. The
faces are strange and unto themselves, like the birds nested
in their towers. I walk on the painted glass and watch the
monks reading.

Before sleep, I stare at my name in the light. I search the
mosaic for inscriptions. A group of musicians is visible in
the center, with a goddess twisting her nearly translucent
hair over someone lying on a bed. There is a carafe, and

I am like mumbling in the woodshed, the prayer without
name, or origin, I am similar to that. Like a horse neighing
out its state of loneliness, the hunter looking for his wife’s
hand, the snowfall, the indifferent canoe, I am that.

Roman tombstone, pagan script, table, soul and screen:
nothing is left to children. You emerge from the wood
talking of miracles, thermal springs and fish-stocked ponds.
And here is the oldest game: the sun putting on the robe,
putting on the robe and leaving.

SOURCE: The Prose Poem: An International Journal (January 1995).

IMAGE: “Still Life with Mandolin and Guitar” by Pablo Picasso (1924).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Johnson has published poem in Caliban and many other journals.