three poems


San Francisco Sonnet

The city falls into a languid state

As winter’s cold and lockdown keep us home

And Ocean Beach is dotted with sea foam

As postal workers wrestle with out freight

Abandoned parklets gather dust and wait

We watch them from apartments, each alone

Togetherness is now a word unknown

We wonder if our efforts were too late.

A populated city once shut down

Must struggle to keep spirits running high

Our empty streets won’t stay that way for long

Although it feels the virus won this round

We’ll tend the spark that keeps this place alive

Community is worth us staying strong.

On Staying at Home in California

As the restaurants turned themselves

inside out to stay alive,

and spilled their guts

onto the streets

And as the San Francisco nights

blew cold moist wind in from the ocean,

We all looked for our long coats

And found them just in time for it to be too late:

Restaurants closed

Dreams deposed

City Portrait, 2021

Valencia Street-

A rat noses

toward me

as I sit

in an

abandoned parklet

a defunct


Lean times

for that rat

since the hipsters

moved to Texas


S. L. Johnson grew up in Toledo, Ohio but ended up taking the most circuitous route possible to Sydney Australia, where she writes poetry and speculative fiction while living with all the excitement of type 1 diabetes. She loves cities and suburbia makes her break out in hives.