Two Promising Places to Live in the Northern Constellation, Lyra

by Marci Rae Johnson


At 186,000 miles per second
it would take 1,200 years to travel
to the place where you wait,

sifting through the thickly matted
flora and fauna on the forest’s floor—those bones

of last year’s spring. Life as we know it requires
solid ground and liquid water, which could presumably exist

on the surface of your palms held out. Perhaps a river
or ocean—or that humid fog, a dense
cloud obscuring your face on even the brightest day.

I promise when this long night ends
I’ll do more than send these notes through the air

for you to follow in the dark toward the lake
you haven’t seen in years, the swath of rock along the water’s edge

where I search for a stone the size and shape of my heart—
small planet just close enough to the sun, our outermost
world. It is probably habitable.

Marci Rae Johnson works as an editor and writer. In her previous life, she taught college English. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Image, The Christian Century, Mid-American Review, RHINO, Redivider, Redactions, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Louisville Review, and 32 Poems, among others. Her most recent book, Basic Disaster Supplies Kit, was published by Steel Toe Books. Her first collection of poetry won the Powder Horn Prize and was published by Sage Hill Press and her chapbook won the Friends of Poetry chapbook contest for Michigan authors in 2014 and was published by Celery City Chapbooks.