Heather Taylor Johnson
Heather Taylor Johnson moved from America to Australia in 1999 and since has received a PhD in Creative Writing, has had a poetry collection, Exit Wounds, published, and has discovered that reviewing poetry is a fantastic genre to work with. She spent all of 2010 living in the Colorado Rockies with her husband and three young children and though she couldn’t leave the subject of ‘home’ alone in her writing, she also found that mountains were very difficult to ignore.
While A Flock Of Seagulls Flies North
Tree stumps wide as the length of my body
and as long as yours
from head to toe
scatter this beach;
its perimeter the outline of a powerful tide.
Without you there would be no ex-pat.
Without me no working visa.
We inhabit this earth as if it were our own.
Trying to imagine this ocean carrying
great trees of small forests in such a rush
of movement and moons
depositing them on foreign soil…
sand, not soil
but then you and the beauty of this drowned-out colour
and washed-out texture, how the stumps broke apart
from roots and limbs to rest on this beach
are just the reasons I am here.
The reasons I move, then rest.
Our nine year itch moved us to the mountains.
Small town, big earth
we breathed it every day:
snow sifting, resting, misting upwards
from a sexy wind.
Our waterless lips
were constantly parted
constantly wanting to lap it up.
We became so spontaneous the frozen waterfall
we walked upon, ad-libbed and perfect.
And the night in the lounge after Sunny’s party,
the mess, wood stove, us.
Riotous snowballs melted down
the backs of our knitted necks
and the jolt, the stagger, the interchangeable
skin and liquid ice (liquid ice
and incredible skin).
Something fleeting about it all.
And those mountains –
When we finally looked away we breathed;
it was evergreen, deer dung and snow.
In the end we became asthmatic
because after the mountains
my eyes found yours
and then we gasped
forgetting to breath
forgetting the snow