The trees undressed now,
I see into my neighbor’s kitchen,
the single father eating breakfast alone.
I should look away. Jelly oozes
from his doughnut, splatters
his undershirt. He dabs his large belly.
His son shoves something from the fridge
into his backpack, hurries out.

My husband, dressed already, joins me
in our kitchen, kisses the top of my head.
Last night’s argument settled,
I hug him good-bye,
place my dish in the sink.

Our neighbor startles at my hello
when our garage doors lift. We slip
into our cars, drive past
the bare, invulnerable trees.


About the Poet:  Melissa Fite Johnson received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Individual poems have appeared in RattleValparaiso Poetry ReviewBroadsided Press, and elsewhere. Her first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), and her second, Ghost Sign (Spartan Press, 2016), which she co-authored, were both named Kansas Notable Books. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Melissa and her husband live with their dog and chickens in Kansas, where she teaches English.


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