Michael Lee Johnson

Harvest Time

(Version 5 Final)


A Métis Indian lady, drunk,

hands blanketed over as in prayer,

over a large brown fruit basket

naked of fruit, no vine, no vineyard

inside−approaches the Edmonton,

Alberta adoption agency.

There are only spirit gods

inside her empty purse.


Inside, an infant,

restrained from life,

with a fruity wine sap apple

wedged like a teaspoon

of autumn sun

inside its mouth.

A shallow pool of tears starts

to mount in native blue eyes.

Snuffling, the mother offers

a slim smile, turns away.

She slithers voyeuristically

through near slum streets,

and alleyways,

looking for drinking buddies

to share a hefty pint

of applejack wine.


Gingerbread Lady


Gingerbread lady,

no sugar or cinnamon spice;

years ago arthritis and senility took their toll.

Crippled mind moves in then out, like an old sexual adventure

blurred in an imagination of fingertip thoughts.

Who in hell remembers the characters?

There was George, her lover, near the bridge at the Chicago River:

she missed his funeral; her friends were there.

She always made feather-light of people dwelling on death,

but black and white she remembers well.

The past is the present; the present is forgotten.

Who remembers Gingerbread Lady?

Sometimes lazy-time tea with a twist of lime,

sometimes drunken-time screwdriver twist with clarity.

She walks in scandals; sometimes she walks in soft night shoes.


Her live-in maid smirks as Gingerbread Lady gums her food,

false teeth forgotten in a custom-imprinted cup

with water, vinegar, and ginger.

The maid died. Gingerbread Lady looks for a new maid.

Years ago, arthritis and senility took their toll.

Yesterday, a new maid walked into the nursing home.

Ginger forgot to rise out of bed;

no sugar, or cinnamon toast.



Michael Lee Johnson © 2009


Mother, Edith, at 98


Edith, in this nursing home

blinded with macular degeneration,

I come to you with your blurry

eyes, crystal sharp mind,

your countenance of grace−

as yesterday's winds

I have chosen to consume you

and take you away.


"Oh, where did Jesus disappear

to”, she murmured,

over and over again,

in a low voice

dripping words

like a leaking faucet:

"Oh, there He is my

Angel of the coming."



Michael Lee Johnson © 2009