Epidemiology of Saipan

Tiny island steals
from the heart
of me—flame
trees burst into
my neurons, clustering

all walls crimson. I
bleed anger from
every orifice—the tropical
island paradise
is a false

narrative I scream
into every sunrise. I keep
running despite
the pungent humidity. I keep
my knees together, beating

against the concrete. My cells
turn to sand, mitochondria
and all. A plane skims through
night whisps of clouds, its three blue-
bellied lights in jet black atmosphere, almost swimming.

SARAH JOHNSON received her M.F.A. from American University and is a Ph.D. student in Writing and Rhetoric at George Mason University. She currently teaches composition and creative writing to high school students at Mt. Carmel School in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. Her article about mindfulness and writing centers can be seen in Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, and her poetry can be found in Bird's Thumb, District Lit,The Worcester Review, Glint Literary Journal, and others.