I have lived in the wing of a cemetery angel,
along rain-soaked wrought iron fences gleaming
in the grey light of October afternoon,
piano music and yellowing leaves foretelling early autumn flakes of snow.
You have lived on nameless roads in ghost towns,
in the still space between ripples of water, illusory.
I have lived in the bare-wood sloping walls of a lamp-lit attic,
a taste of chocolate mint on my fingers,
candies for the grown-ups who talk late around the table.
You have found me walking on arctic streets, purposeful, following the shape
of a northern Jesus through my dreamland of glaciers and sapphire lakes.
I have listened to limbs banging and straining, voices cursing;
I have worn socks and hospital robes, and you have understood.
You have been a paradox of blood, breath, muscle, bone, and shadow,
a shadow of a bird flying over me.
I have lived in the branches of trees, the heady scent
of spring earth, earthworms, and violets,
and the childhood cottony clouds on the horizon.
You are the birdsong, the axis, my reason and my way.
I am your arctic guide, a bonfire on an icy shore, your home.
—Emily Glossner Johnson