Because I Love You, Emily

by | Jul 17, 2019 | Poetry

I have made, of my house, a limonaia.
The glass bluebird perches in the window,
the cyclamen, lavender, and epiphyte cactus
are all in bloom at once, and the yellow fruit
hangs on its branch as long as you want.

Because I love you, Emily, I have made
a fool’s mirror of your life. The ocean
frozen in waves of ceramic foam,
the Greek master regarding me
from the corner chair where I settled him.

I love you, and so I have no patience
for a word wasted or out of place.
I posit commas like exhalations,
the breath I have been holding
since the first moment you spoke to me.

Because of you, every book is a crumble
of pressed wood and parchment.
Every page is a blank – zero bone,
loaded gun, and yes, I am scalped,
the millworks of my brain laid open.

You ruined me, Emily, the way a storm surge
ruins a barrier beach, taking the sand
from one end and moving it to the other,
filling the channel between the jetties,
chuckling like a basement full of clocks.


Photo used under CC.

About The Author


Sonja Johanson has recent work appearing in THRUSH, Bellevue Literary Review, and American Life in Poetry. She is a contributing editor at the Eastern Iowa Review, and the author of Impossible Dovetail (IDES, Silver Birch Press), all those ragged scars (Choose the Sword Press), and Trees in Our Dooryards (Redbird Chapbooks). Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine. Follow her at