The Dead by Melissa Fite Johnson

I wished dead the girl who told meBio pic

in third grade I was adopted. I’d believed her

over my dad. Four years later,

her family’s car ran a stop sign

and a semi blew into their backseat.


I picture her at a table with my father,

a new Adam’s apple plugging

the hole cancer made. They don’t talk

about the town. They don’t talk about me.

The dead don’t remember.

I like to think he has a dreamlike idea of me,

and she of her father. At the table,

she pours tea. He tucks

the lace cloth into his shirt. They’re together

because isn’t that nicer than sitting alone.


Melissa Fite Johnson teaches English at Pittsburg High School in Kansas. She’s had poetry published in magazines such as Sotto Voce, The Little Balkans Review, and Inscape Magazine, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. The Little Balkans Press will publish her first book of poetry, While the Kettle’s On, this year. Melissa and her husband, Marc, live in Pittsburg with their dog and several chickens.

Lori Baker Martin is Kansas Time + Place editor for the month of May. She lives and works in Southeast Kansas where she is  teaching English at Independence Community College. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin,  The Little Balkans Review,Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, 150 Kansas Poets, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. She’sbeen awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  Martin is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s