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Caroline Johnson

A yellow goldfinch on a tall sunflower
pulls seeds from the brown center,
gathering what he needs, while
every day life slips away from us,
a smile lost, a hug that never quite
reaches outstretched arms. We yearn
for symbiotic relationships—a nod of
the head, the ring of the cell phone,
horseback riding with a friend, easy
conversation with a cup of java.
We need the familiar among the strange,
turning on a light switch in a darkened room,
petting a cat whose whiskers graze your hand,
understanding a sentence in a foreign tongue,
cutting your knee only to have a nurse dress it.
Losing your senses only deepens the connection—
a Braille book describing sunsets, a signed
conversation about Spanish-infused jazz.
This poem first appeared in Prairie Light Review (Autumn 2006).
Used here with the author’s permission.

Caroline Johnson has published two poetry chapbooks, Where the Street Ends, and My Mother’s Artwork. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Michigan and worked as a newspaper journalist for five years. She also spent a year in Hungary and taught English as a second language before earning her M.A. in English Education from the University of Chicago. Caroline currently teaches English at two community colleges in the Chicago area, and serves as president of Poets and Patrons of Chicago. See her blog at


Post New Comment:
I like this very much. Are you saying though that we are like or unlike the yellw goldfinch?
Posted 04/13/2013 05:40 PM
Wilda Morris:
A wonderful reminder of the importance of relationships.
Posted 03/31/2013 11:02 PM
lisa honecker:
all those nice things to hold onto. Great work! Lisa Honecker
Posted 03/31/2013 10:35 PM
Right on target, with every observation. Thanks...
Posted 03/31/2013 03:15 PM
A recurrence of the longings of all at some time or other. You put into verse my very own wishes. Thank you.
Posted 03/31/2013 03:10 PM
Beautiful poem. It was a joy to read this on Easter morning. Thank you.
Posted 03/31/2013 09:26 AM

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