Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

In This Place, Poverty Falls

Michael Johnson

In this place night falls with Linda.
Wrinkled life, wrinkled wishes
race across her face.
Torment bristles with each morning;
nailed to a cross within her house,
Linda lives.
Everything is a cycle,
a charity or gifts.
Poverty is an odor,
it is a smell her
nose itches with.
In the yard, poverty grass,
near the old car, poverty grass.
Poverty tastes like copper
metal on her tongue.
On her this journey with no applause,
no gas, Nicor shut that off.
No money honey, laziness shut that off.
Her house is full of bills and debris.
With no relief a few dollars
shrink in her hand harmlessly.
Rest, wait in welfare lines,
manipulate the coin machines
and the local pharmacy drug store.
Electric heaters keep the old house
warm and the multiple pets alive.
The microwave heats the plastic
salad bowl filled with water
for sponge baths.
The left over water mixes with hydrogen
peroxide that brushes her teeth.
Her body pale and spirits bail out with pills.
Groceries are checks
Nourished by food stamps.
Walls come closer in at night.
The wind outside roars
with stolen property inside.
Dreary days, step
into depression's chamber;
a slice of her mourning
pronounces her dead.


Michael Lee Johnson lives in Chicago, after spending 10 years in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada during the Viet Nam era. He is a freelance writer and poet. He is a member of Poets & Writers, Inc; Directory of American Poets & Fictions Writers: Recent publications: The Orange Room Review, Bolts of Silk, Chantarelle's Notebook, The Foliate Oak Online Literary Magazine, Poetry Cemetery, Official Site of Laura Hird, The Centrifugal Eye, Adagio Verse Quarterly, Scorched Earth Publishing, and many others. He is published in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria, Africa, India, and the United Kingdom.

© Michael Johnson

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