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Watching Things Unfold

(From a word to a sound, from idyllic to criminal, word-play turns serious when sound meets meaning, and meaning metes meanness.)

Folding laundry, napkins, whooping cranes

saving paper bags in slow folded meditation

fold a poem in pleats from its top to be told

where thinking ends and poetry unfolds.

Fold diapers to fit babies folded to fit wombs

laps, arms round to hold. In red, black, rusty gold

unearthed earthen urns behold elders’ bones

in fetal folds, filled with stories long untold.

Fold as shelter to bring sheep, hollow among

hills, place where we belong. As rivers ribbon

fold on fold and doeskin still so softly folds, so

lava flows, until its folds turn hard and cold.

Daily the world’s worst fears unfold. Protections

fold. Farms, schools, clinics fold. Dreamers fold

in pray-er mode in airless packed conveyor holds.

Copy-catenated crimes we scold in centerfolds.

Our dreams fooled, our nightmares foaled, our

demons we had hidden in deep mental folds, now

faceless identical dolls, unfold so paper-thin, so

folioed, to hold each other’s tiny hands in folds.

“Folds” first appeared in Indolent Books/What Rough Beast and later in Jane’s poetry collection Maven Reaches Mars, Off the Common Press 2020.

About the Author

Jane McPhetres Johnson lives in Amherst MA.

Born in Colorado, enlightened in the ‘60s and ‘70s, landed in Wyoming with two sons, one born while commuting to Vermont’s Goddard College MFA––during graduation/commencement week. Recent poems in Silkworm, Ekphrastic Review, and Song between the Stars.

Read more in Jane’s book, Maven Reaches Mars: Home Poems and Space Probes in Four Fascicles (Off the Common Books, Amherst MA. 2020).

Other publications, exhibits, and readings include: Microbursts: Anthology by Quabbin Writers Salon (Picaflor Press 2017), Compass Roads (edited by Jane Yolen, Straw Dog Writers Guild 2018), and Not My President: Anthology of Dissent (ThoughtCrime Press 2017), Dragon’s Egg in Mystic CT, Earth Day exhibit in Hadley MA, Forbes Library “Home” show, Northampton MA.


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