Hidden Meadow

Cuts from bramble
stain our legs
we laugh inside
the meadow useless
where bees float
wildly over poppies
a tremble cuts
across the meadow
like a knife
a knife trained
against father-shadow a
knife slid smooth
through a stick
of cold butter
the cut speaks
to the knife
touch me touch
my hands meadow
where a hand
is a thief
bandit absent winter
the fingers play
like a pair
of scissors cutting
unwanted little bleeds
like red flowers
like surrender hidden
the meadow submits
to cold hands
cold tremble not-laughing
trying to stop
the blood adult
from cascading cut
the cut speaks
with the threat
of my voice
the knife doesn’t
need to speak
except for silence

L. A. Johnson is from California. She is the author of the chapbook Little Climates (Bull City Press, 2017). She is currently pursuing her PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Southern California, where she is a Provost’s Fellow. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry ReviewBlackbird, Prairie SchoonerThe Southern ReviewTriQuarterly, and other journals. Find her online at http://www.la-johnson.com.