Johanna is from New York and lives in Shanghai. She writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She’s a recent graduate of Bard College and works at NYU Shanghai as a Writing and Speaking Fellow.


Four Poems


Other than the older ones, no one blinked. I asked what you had for lunch and you said it was some kind of rubric; where the snow fell hard, I ate in yellow. I somehow hated even your chuckle. It swung in everyone’s air, empty and sterile, a hanged eunuch. Your shorthand stretched. You were giving them orders. I tapped on the window since the door was locked. I made it a calm tap, like all I wanted was the attention of a bird.





The crazy that comes from posture. The silent crazy, the one you just see. Her weight balances on one foot, her neck twists. What’s the definition of a resource? There are rules about how much space has to be between people in a car and people on the street. Her hand breaks them and slams itself on the window. Her head seems to grow.

If you fall, the baby falls. “Men don’t hear that.” How many disasters could you email through? You were never gullible. She smashed the glass and used it on you. Opening your mouth hurt. Some people blamed heavy winds for her broken foot. The last thing you were was surprised. She didn’t know what would happen tomorrow but when she saw the calendar she had to update.




When she felt nervous she vomited entrance. Her phlegm was an escalator. Everyone stood still and descended. Traded tips. Advice about stocks. Slime metal edged along. The man next to her spoke into his left ear, convincing himself to invest. They were getting lower as her blood rose. The bottom was somewhere to be from instead of toward, she thought. Her gut protested. The headset men stomped on spiked stair metal. Something flipped; the ceiling was coming down. They started to die noticeably. Life left that underground. She was the only one still living in the sand lamp. Carved her name into the last raw stomach, and she, the blonde girl no one knew, finally made friends. Her loyal group, her gold trophies.




Ode To Armadillo. Little armored thing. Show me your cheek teeth. I’d let you bite me if we videotape it. How many weapons could I make from your carcass? I was always your claw but in death it was you who dug me. End of story quick change.

You were alone unless it was breeding season. I knew you were getting younger when you got loose skin, reaching sexual maturity at nine weeks. You were the comfortably disheveled sort.  If pursued, the armadillo changes from its normal shifting shuffling to a scuttle, eventually reaching a gallop with remarkable speed.

It was hard work but eventually I caught up to you. Played the cheetah. I never thought revenge was an ugly word until I started wearing it. Stop complaining, I only took your tail.