Out of the Last Frontier

Out of fishing nets and broken

bottles of whiskey

lining red holes in tinned bottomed boat.

Brown glass strung on monofilament like blown

brown glass floats.

They feed their late-night hunger with ferment.

Out of ocean water and fish scales floating belly-up drowning in sun.

Out of swollen bellies and wild wind waves.

They feed the feathered beast.

They feed monsoon storm strumming out of the Gulf of Alaska.


Out of Marlboro Menthol Lights by the cartons.

Out of packing long sticks down to the filter for taste.

Out of opening the box and taking two out only to flip one upside down for good luck.

They feed the flames for luck.

They feed a habit with the flames of urns.

Out of pressing the other one to lips before paying.

Out of lighter snapped out of fuse.

Out of lighting hard but not hard enough.


Out of late-night bonfires made from stolen pallets.

Out of teenagers smoking Marijuana sticks as incense.

They feed mosquitos big as birds.

They feed and they still bite.

Out of ache blood.

Out of drunks.

Out of five am smells of juniper and pine.


They feed the oil into tankers heading to China.

They feed the oil into tankers gas not refined on this soil.

Out of tugboats pulling.

Out of kiss my ass.

Out of thin layer plastic protection without face mask: no breathing ventilation.

They feed the poor to sludge through oil.

They feed the high-water pants for fishing, now knee deep in cleaning solution.

They feed they gas pumps.

They feed their government hookups.

Out of 22-hour workdays.

Out of fish can rot on rotation belts, but the cutters still cluster in five-foot spaces.

Out of never seeing the sky open up for it is always open in summer

Juleen Eun Sun Johnson was born in Seoul, South Korea. She was adopted and taken to Valdez, Alaska. Johnson is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and the recipient of the Isabella Gardner Fellowship. She earned an MFA in Visual Studies from PNCA and an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Johnson’s work has been published in: Cirque: A Literary Journal, Nervous Breakdown, The Rio Grande Review, Whiskey Island Magazine, The Dunes Review, The Indianapolis Review, Zone 3 Press, Neck Press, and other journals and anthologies. Johnson read for TenderTable and House Poems Project. Johnson was the Editor of Special Projects for jubilat in Fall 2020-Spring 2021. She is the founder and editor of Trestle Ties: A Landscape of Emergence.