johnson1 Russell
by Keith Russell Johnson

This middle name
given
in a weak moment
to me
by my mother
in a weak marriage
to honor my father’s
father
Russell

I never knew my grandmother
Victoria May
she blew her brains out
in a weak moment
fueled by booze
and sorrow
in a weak marriage
to
Russell

I feel her
know her hopes
sense her presence
when I find a willing vein and slowly
inject
then exhale
and hear the leaves outside
Rustle

PHOTOGRAPH: The author travelling towards Northern California before dusk.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am interested in family history that sometimes is difficult to talk about and how it permeates all areas of our lives through generations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Keith Russell Johnson teaches contemporary dance at California State University Long Beach and is the Artistic Director of Keith Johnson/Dancers. Keith has danced professionally with Ririe/Woodbury Dance Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Creach/Koester. and Doug Varone and Dancers. He is a 2015 recipient of a Djerassi Artist Residency and was named the 2012/13 Distinguished Alumni from The Department of Dance at the University of Utah.