by Allan Johnston

Published in Issue No. 162 ~ November, 2010

Between us imagine a saying.
It could relate to the balance of things

or to inclement weather.
It is of no consequence.
And yet
there is also this list
of simple facts to contend with.

For instance, those who walk in the sun,
hands over head, to dig

the graves they will stand beside
before the shooting. What happened

to bring them to this precipice
of silence?
Pustules of stars.

The earth like a sick green rope
on the coarse blue skin of night.

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Allan Johnston earned his M.A. in Creative Writing and his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis. His poems have appeared in over sixty journals, including Poetry, Poetry East, Rattle, and Rhino. He is the author of one full-length poetry collection (Tasks of Survival, 1996) and a chapbook (Northport, 2010), and has received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize nomination (2009), and First Prize in Poetry in the Outrider Press Literary Anthology competition (2010). Originally from California, he now teaches writing and literature at Columbia College and DePaul University in Chicago. He serves as a reader for the Illinois Emerging Poets competition, is president of the Society for the Philosophical Study of Education, and is the editor of the Journal for the Philosophical Study of Education. His scholarly articles have appeared in Twentieth Century Literature, College Literature, and several other journals. In the past he has worked as a sheepherder, shake splitter, roofer, forest fire fighter, Indian cook, and photographer.