Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

If I Were Young Again

Michael Lee Johnson

Piecemeal summer dies.
The spread of long winter blanket again.

For ten years I have lived in exile,
Locked in this rickety cabin, shoulder
Pushed up against the open Alberta sky.

If I were young again I’d sing of the coolness of high
Mountain snow flowers, the sprinkle of night glow-blue
I would dream and stretch slim fingers into the distant nowhere,
Yawn slowly over the endless prairie miles.

Prairie and grassland where in summer silence grows
and spreads eagle wings out like warm honey.

If I were young again I’d eat pine cones, food of birds,
Share meals with wild animals; I’d have as much dessert as wanted,
Reach out into blue sky and lick the clouds off my fingers.

But I’m not young anymore and my thoughts torment,
Are raw and overworked, sharpened misery from torture
Of war and childhood.

For ten years now I have lived locked in this unstable cabin,
Inside the rush of summer winds,
Outside the air beaten dim with snow.


Michael Lee Johnson lives in Chicago, Illinois, after spending ten years in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada during the Viet Nam era. He is a freelance writer and poet. He is interested in social and religious topics, and the need for universal health care in the United States. He is presently self-employed, with a previous background in social service areas. He has a BA in sociology and worked on a Masters Program in Correctional Administration.

© Michael Lee Johnson

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012