Vanessa Couto Johnson


Often you are that house. Lit on a rock. Or nest, crows’. Steadying my home.

On the look, out. For me, always left-handed when meat is involved, the knife.

If hands are a right, what is a privilege, that the desks are a given. Only then did we have replicated problems to solve.

You read twice as fast as I do eat the contents of a bowl. I am the fast eater, but when I read I tread into the holes of open letters.

I am living like the nomad who hasn’t packed yet. Things set out for animals.

Found art or drawn. If we blend the dichotomy with herbs, will it work or play. Help my strained tea.

You can print this as a landscape. As a portrait. Escape with an unauthorized use, machine’s dried spitting. It speaks what we told it to. We do not fear its office, its echo, its bellyful of blanks.


The clerk asked where we were going. She took our passport photos. You with a haircut.

Someone told your father your hair is speaking to me. A scissor-based séance, science-less phrenology and some scalps more obvious than others.

You have memorized my birthmarks. I have told you my ribs are weird but you have other beliefs. And that, good, is.

If there were a Hippocratic oaf, his clumsiness would be benign. Reel in the sic, correct prognosis. We have no need to meet this being.

I am the kind of person who spits into a tube, mails it, and gets back biological data. All before the FDA can block the company’s health risk assessments. My ancestry percents itself.

Continents, color-coded, wave to me. Make speculative print-outs, travel a font I like to reread.


Peace is thicker than unsweet tea. Potato salad is a soft gravel I put on a path of meat.

We calibrate. Your pulse within norms. I now pronounce. You refresh, a stasis in jeans.

Today, on the face of the world. Lightning slaps off the finger of giant Jesus ogling Rio.

Every statue is a sequestration. The season of sequins upon the carnal. Dance until a Wednesday.

Personally, Brazilian immigrant’s outcome, I have momentum. Hips perpetual.

This state is easy to trace. Catharsis is overrated so I trap my mouth. Find pelt.

The microcatfish candiru finds inlets, not outlets. The body is subject. Urethra upturned.

Find piece, believe in the cod and prey heartily. You did not like seeing a goat cooked with its head attached. Think with the delicate. Lyrics are a musical delicacy you taste while driving to rest-stop.


The perpendicular driver overlooks us, enters our lane with an inertial stamina. You calculate curves with the wheel and we make it.

I hardly braced in case. I am reminded how low my cortisol is. The heart is not a pound but an apothecary dispensing needs.

Pressure is a dotted line. Road or document. They will be adding a bike lane. Spoke and spoke. What if I wore a helmet in the convertible.

When a menu has mussels I am tempted. Your aphrodisiac is different, wobbly, with hot water in the process.

Twelve percent leg meat in the can of crab. You show me how to move the limbs of your ancient opener.

Drain, drain. A waiter calls you brother. My steak exists and is replaced with one most rare. Most people are not pleased unless there is blood in every organ.

Vanessa Couto Johnson’s chapbook Life of Francis was the winner of Gambling the Aisle’s 2014 Chapbook Contest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Qwerty, The Destroyer, BORT Quarterly, Two Serious Ladies, and elsewhere. She currently teaches at Texas State University, where she earned her MFA.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.