Two Poems by Vanessa Couto Johnson

Vanessa Couto Johnson

Vanessa Couto Johnson

Vanessa Couto Johnson (she/they) is the author of the full-length Pungent dins concentric (Tolsun Books, 2018) and three poetry chapbooks, most recently speech rinse (Slope Editions’ 2016 Chapbook Contest winner). Dialogist, Foundry, Thrush, TERSE. Journal, and others have published their poems, and their creative nonfiction appears in The Account and FEED. A Brazilian born in Texas (dual citizen), VCJ has taught at Texas State University since 2014.

*? where we’re going we don’t need *

the skeuomorph mutt / -ers its his / -toric nature / to nurture us

the familiar is a d- / angle / we thread our degrees through // to quilt or to quit is one
letter away

I am a process ambling with vestigial structure // parts hoarded to live / parts living to
hound me // arts a slider bar for setting

eating under a lid // landed by flix / netted and ill // one-manned and the stream

a keyhole’s itch behind an escutcheon // ring’s double / loop and repeat lock’s pin

what starts in a pass / -enger and word // to rear a mirror is to be [a/c]lone / and cooled
// I am twenty-nine percent my paternal grandmother / and can love that

happily, my uterus linked / to no one // my abs do not salute // I am an end of line hanging
from a grid / I won’t match with / relative failures // sails full





do you think evil / people mean / well in their / own [drowned in] shallow[’s] way / the bucket at the bottom half filled with silt / the way a shadow can’t / melt an anvil / yes evil thinks well of itself / and means to do of that type of filling / what is tended in or out / ended tinned / what cans that humanity does / what humidity serves or sizzles / we can only / hope mean / isn’t average / the plot viscous / pointed soup you eat from without blowing