Laura Beth Johnson

Three Poems – Laura Beth Johnson


dear one, when I traveled the world
my answers left and your questions stayed
your profile is the skyline I prefer

I’ve seen waves dissolve and flames curl
I conversed with the moon phase by phase
it is she who told me to travel the world

I’ve known violence that can’t be unlearned
and peace that can’t be unplaced
still your arms are the safehouse I prefer

this morning your petal eyes unfurled
in your blooming gaze
I travel this world

you, lover, of you I am sure
your sunday soul bright as may
your body, the cathedral I prefer

as dawn breathes light across your face
my space becomes your space
love, do you hear me, I traveled the world
and your profile is the skyline I prefer


Virginia P.

The wedding band of my mother’s father’s mother
curls around my pinky
like a woman round a man
lines etched down the side
platinum plated, small as a dime
Virginia had child fingers

The inside is inscribed with initials: H.D. & V. P.
and a date: November 23rd, 1933
I can barely make out the markings
the etchings worn smooth
H.D. was Henry Drouin
He hacked the upright piano
to make room for a crib for little Henry,
His mother called him Hank.

He called me sweetie when he forgot my name
disease is to the mind as surf to stone
dulling edges in succession
no one asked him his mother’s maiden name
now they’re asking if we want a feeding tube put in.

I wear her ring now and
imagine her 16 and unmarried
standing at a bus stop or train station
thick letters printed on the side of her suitcase
Virginia Perkin Virginia Pruder
Virginia Penning Virginia Porter



She comes to my altar, lays her hands on me
incense on her hair, small blessings

O my soul

She’s breath and bone, divinity and dust
And we are sanctuaries, all of us

Her wine tongue worships my holy fire
Anoint me baby, anoint me harder

O my soul


Laura Beth Johnson is an award-winning poet and songwriter based in Albany, New York. She was awarded the Lucy Monro Brooker Poetry Prize in 2017 and a Songwriting Fellowship by Image Magazine in 2019. Her poetry has been published in journals and collections with Post Mortem Press, Lady Blue Publishing, Indie Earth Publishing, Etchings Press, and The Lanthorn. You can find her music on all streaming platforms under the moniker “Sorrow Estate”.

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