Lucie Johnston

july 12th, 1999 Nashville, TN
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Spring Break


I’ve been counting my breath for days
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The magic formula

I only do it when I remember to

The patterns of my breath look like the sea I’m currently in front of
Clear aqua pure
With patches of dark gray muck

I am writing in the margins of this book
A book about breath
Leaning back, wedged between my shoulder blades is a neon soccer ball
That I wish I was playing sandy soccer with
Like I used to
with my dad and sister

Games games games!
Why does lazy competition feel like such a genuine form of fun to me?
22 years old I long for 10-year-old basketball with my teacher on the playground
Where a scab on the knee was a gold medal around my neck

Noise…Noise… Noise!
The chatter of girls all around me
I run through pockets of energy
Sometimes embedded in the chatter
A wolf in the pack

Other times, white noise all around me
And I return to the underwater tea party in my brain
With the usual suspects
Me, myself, and I

Some sounds fail to score my life the way people talk about nothing does
Like someone eating an apple in a quiet focused room
My eyes quickly scan for my protectors
And alas, they're out of battery
So I listen
My entire body becomes a loosely clenched fist
I could jump out of my sunken space on the sofa
Like a cat darting across a dim-lit street

A man just approached us
He asked us if we were Sports Illustrated swimsuit models
Not the type of man you want to hear that from
You know, old, beer belly, red in the face
With his wife trailing behind him
But still,
You flatter me
you cliche of a creepy man

Lately, I’ve participated in consecutive nights of drunk sleep
Where you remain planted in one position
And wake up with a bowling ball in your head
A shallow rest
Like having candy for dinner

But I’ve been practicing my drunk sleep erasure
Or rather,
drunk sleep redemption
8 miles of movement logged into my health app each day
drains out almost all the guilt
just the right amount remains

And I remember
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I just killed an ant on my towel
I hope it wasn’t an adolescent

I wish I could paint the full blue sky in front of me
Rainbow parachute hosting two people
in love with a thrill
And maybe each other
But I’m no Picasso

I feel like I remain on a see-saw


And forth

7$ ginger shot
14$ vodka soda
Like cathy
a smiling face in a group photo

I fit right into their shoes selfish
I prefer to wear my own today

Smiling at the world
a sunny convertible and slow down you crazy child

a pile of amazon packages

dead headphones walk to class
End of day, no missed calls

Loving my friends
a four hour long dinner
Having no friends
an uber alone from the airport to home

a soft smile between strangers
a red light charged with anger

Imagine the transition between winter to spring
Cold, barren, gray to warm, brisk, green
Then Speed it up like a time-lapse
And loop it
Then watch as it plays beginning to end
End to beginning
Back and forth
Forth and back

I think that’s kind of like my seesaw

But most times I stand in the middle

Legs wide
Knees locked

Lolling in a light gray zone
between chapped lip anxiety and pink-cheeked stimulation

I remember again
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