In verse: Maine places and people


Produced by Dennis Camire

This week’s poem is by Sonja Johanson of Bethel. Her most recent book is “Trees in Our Dooryard” published by Red Bird Chapbooks.


By Yourself

By Sonja Johanson


There used to be a zoo

on the island, for the tourists.

They had baby lynx, fallow deer,


colobus monkeys. In the side

pasture were bison.


It was barely spring. Driving

toward the bridge, a female

was alone, back of the field.

I knew nothing about bison,

barely anything of cattle, even.

But she moved wrong, moved

in a way that made me pull

my car over to the muddy

shoulder, stomach clenched.


I watched her arch and heave.

It took only minutes. Her haunches

buckled as something large and dark

slid to the dead grass. She turned

to lick her calf alive. I sobbed and shook

all the long drive over the causeway.


Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected].