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Bryana Johnson

Second Prize 2012 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $500

About this Poet:
Bryana Johnson is a homeschool graduate with a passion for poetry, political science, and art. She has won cash prizes in multiple poetry contests and writes about literature and current events over at www.thehightide.com. Her poems have been published in several literary journals including the Boston Literary Magazine, Time of Singing, The Mayo Review, Adroit Journal and Assisi, and she is currently compiling her first full-length collection. While she grew up in Turkey and lived for a time in Ankara and along the coast of the Black Sea, she currently resides in Dallas, Texas. She loves G.K. Chesterton, acrylic paints, guitar and children.

The Quintessence of Dust in Wartime

Under this majestic roof fretted with golden fire,
what a piece of work is every one of us,
lank and lacerated in the last sunset ever,
gaunt in the glare of the final pink light.
It will be good to go down with you, my brothers,
for the acrid smolder curling out of Wielun and
for our dead horses row on row; Guernica,
and the steam rising off of the rubble-choked Thames.
It will be good to go down with you
in the war for the soul of the world.

Put your hot hands out for the wind and
lean into the rippling of the green, the oscillation
of the happy fields where the leaves of pearly corn
are gilded with days-end. And thank God for
the foliage and the wet and the blue that is.
If this grasping flood of flame should overtake us,
lick the globe up with madly dancing tongues,
spatter our cinders on the moon, thank God for the
spring-fresh acid of red strawberries, the yellow silk
of furled ribbons, and the nightingales that were.

From the wrinkle-red squalling, first drawing in
to lungs, what a piece of craft and curvature
have our breaths been! What a piece of work is every
man of us, two-legged and tender, brute-strong and brave,
like shy Quasimodos encompassed by confusion.
If I fall on the arid upper-crust , crumple under fireballs,
felled by the flaring guns, break my parts in pieces, bleed out,
it is something to have gazed on the constellated white,
felt it running from the eyes and the pores: the salt of love.

It is something to have whispered wild thank-yous
in the only ways we know how.

Copyright ©2012 Bryana Johnson