You once coated crickets in calcium. For your lizard. Now you choose an L-shaped option, a fake rock basin that fits in a corner. It’s got the powder. When you remember to fill.

Set an adhesive-backed hook by a door. It can hold five pounds. Or a classy J-handled umbrella, pale wood finish. With a jacket, too.

Everyone cleans a cage while someone almost escapes from a shoebox. The Vs of front legs.

Syllabary on the ceiling. If texture texting with data plan or planted. The soil is relative, asking one question: have you grown.

Somewhere my piranha is dried and chipping. You, as teen, separating yourself from a gift of alligator foot on string.

What is alive has ticks. Jump at my sounds. Initially I will paint acronyms but not myself. There is and will be a machine for that. I live like I am my future, too.


Vanessa Couto Johnson earned her MFA from Texas State University. She is listed as a Highly Commended Poet for the 2014 Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Little Patuxent Review, Eratio, Hot Metal Bridge, Storm Cellar, Star 82 Review, Really System, 100 Word Story, and elsewhere. She runs, blogs at, and has a BA in both English and philosophy from Rice University.

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