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Michael Lee Johnson

Image: Unsplash, downloaded ( 19.8.2023.

Summer is Dying

Outside, summer is dying into fall,

and blue daddy petunias sprout ears

hear the beginning of night chills.

In their yellow window box,

they cuddle up and fear death together.

The balcony sliding door

is poorly insulated, and a cold draft

creeps into all the spare rooms.

Bowl of Black Petunias

If you must leave me, please

leave me for something special,

like a beautiful bowl of black petunias

for when the memories leak

and cracks appear

and old memories fade,

flowers rebuff bloom,

sidewalks fester weeds

and we both lie down

separately from each other

for the very last time.

Memories Past

(Hillbilly Daddy)

I settle into my thoughts

zigzagging between tears

my fathers’ grave

Tippecanoe River

Indiana 1982.

Over now,

a hillbilly country

like the flow

catfish memories

raccoons in trees

coon dogs tracking

on the river bank,

the hunt.

Snapping turtles

in the boat


river flakes

to ice

now covered

thick snow.

Now That I Desire

Now that I desire to be close to you

like two occupants sharing a twin bed

sensing the warmth of sweating shoulders,

hungering for your flesh like a wild wolf

leaning over an empty carcass,

you’re off searching unexplored cliffs,

climbing dangerous mountain tops,

capturing bumblebees in broken beer bottles for biology class,

pleasing plants, parachuting from clouds for fun.

In shadows, you’re closer to life, nonsense,

a princess of absurdity, a collector

of dreams and silent sounds.

In clouds, you build your own fantasy.

Share it with select celebrities.

But till this captive discovers a cure for caring,

a way of rescuing insatiable insanity,

or lives long enough to be patient in longing for you

you must be vigilant,

for with time, snow will surely

blanket this warm desire.

About the Author: Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 289 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, a song lyricist, has several published poetry books, has been nominated for 6 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 453 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society:



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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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