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  You could have a big dipper   

In Blue Canyon by Allan Johnston

There is no slope in the air

no non-slope

only luminosity

lapis hinted

stone of emptiness

all seeing large eye

clear but for

one mote

a vulture flying

across sky

or not

linking empty loops

writing erasing

zeroes halos

a child’s scrawl



over Berryessa

Winters, the valley

flats. A leaf

on a tree swings

heat here

in dry air


Originally from southern California, Allan Johnston earned his M.A. in Creative Writing and his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis. His poems have appeared in over sixty journals, including Poetry, Poetry East, Rattle, and Rhino. He has published two full-length poetry collections (Tasks of Survival, 1996; In a Window, 2018) and three chapbooks (Northport, 2010; Departures, 2013; Contingencies,2015), and received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, Pushcart Prize nomination (2009 and 2016), and First Prize in Poetry in the Outrider Press Literary Anthology competition (2010). His translations and co-translations of poems from the French and German have appeared in Ezra, Metamorphosis, and Transference. He teaches writing and literature at Columbia College and DePaul University in Chicago. He reads or has read for Word River, r.kv.r.y, and the Illinois Emerging Poets competition, and is co-editor of JPSE: Journal for the Philosophical Study of Education. His scholarly articles have appeared in Twentieth Century Literature, College Literature, and several other journals.

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