Five poems by Quinn Carver Johnson and Todd Fuller

Providence

Perhaps those footsteps outside the door are clouds come

to pawn sunny days for Midwest thunderstorms—

On the electronics shelf, I leave one of the TVs on,

tuned into the local news. On the screen,

a brand-new weatherman, standing too stiff

and talking too fast, explains air currents

while the dark tint of storm curtains the shop windows

dimming the light inside. I let my eyes to adjust before

I stare back down at the crossword. Seven Across:

a sudden but violent rainstorm. The clouds burst

and the sun filters its way back into the room. A patron

with an umbrella, broken on two of the spokes,

steps through the doors and shakes herself dry like a dog.

She glances to the television coverage and then says,

Fucker of a shit storm, ain’t it? I look up from my paper

and ask, what’s a ten-letter word for ‘written in the stars?’

Soda Can Sam Offers Life Advice Over a Cigarette

Because traces of laughter might be echoing

against windy tree tops & ricocheting into

unassuming hearts of the town’s passersby—

After locking the store, slamming the metal bars

over the screen door shut, I meet my buddy Sam

at a cowboy-themed dive bar down on 5th street.

In the summers, frat boys & their too-young girlfriends