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At night, my wife and I lie
in bed like we’re stranded
together in a wooden boat
in the middle of the Atlantic
afraid the dawn will deliver

uprooted trees caught under
the overpass, bill collectors using
their robot wives as floatation devices,
a single snake dragging a cursive line
across the water’s shivering surface.

We lived a day like that today.
Right now: tonight, as waves strike
the boat like hands attempting
to climb in or overturn us,
I pray all this is comedy,
that laughter’s just asleep.

Brad Johnson’s second book Smuggling Elephants Through Airport Security (Michigan State University Press) was selected by Carolyn Forche for the 2018 Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize. His first collection The Happiness Theory (Main Street, 2013) is available at Work of his has also been accepted by Hayden’s Ferry Review, J Journal, Meridian, Nimrod, Poet Lore, Salamander, Southern Indiana Review, Tampa Review, Tar River Poetry and others.

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