Spiral | Susan Johnson

Spiral | Susan Johnson

This highway is an artery which makes me
the blood bringing oxygen to the depleted
so they will make it to the next round. Rounding

the rotary, the small spiral of my life tightens
as I navigate each turn, Fibonacci at my side.
Recently my life seems to have taken this shape

and repeated it like a mountain road repeats
the lift and curve of mountain, of the leaves
that spin overhead, the orange peeled into a coil,

the clematis twisting around the pergola until
it’s all aglow; the smoke unspooling from
a neighbor’s fire, the fire itself blossoming

into a spire, a double helix of DNA. Where is it
we’re all going, spinning ourselves into and out
of knots? Is it entropy or inertia? What’s in motion

stays in the ocean in an all-consuming gyre.
A cinnamon roll is a spiritual journey the man
next to me says as we watch a girl twirl a hullahoop

in flames. When I wake the sleep that was curled
around me stretches its bones before winding back
into an ancient scroll, cocoon of unfurled wings.


Susan Johnson received her MFA and PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she currently teaches writing. Poems of hers have recently appeared in The Kerf, Hawaii Pacific Review, Freshwater, Pinyon, Oyez Review and North American Review. She lives in South Hadley MA..