Brandyn Johnson

Pendulum Theory

It will never happen on a Thursday, 
but give her a good beginning-of day, like payday
or a nice even calendar number, like one,
and she’ll empty the fridge 
of its strange accumulation. 
She’ll be patient while she clutches
the collar of the garbage bag,

letting it unshape itself loose.
And her dusty reflection in the sedan
will give her pause, a mental note
will be added to her mental notebook,
she’ll sift through cupholder quarters
for enough to vacuum, too. 
She’ll switch the radio from bubblegum

distractions to real world concrete
distractions. She’ll shake her head
at the soft-voiced tragedy. Too bad,
she’ll say as she pulls into the lot
at the natural foods shop, where 
she’ll blot out her basket lattice
with bok choy, jicama, and quinoa.

I feel better already, she’ll think,
until whatever it will be this time—
a phone call, a shudder,
some vague sea change—
that cores her.
Veined leaf palms will close and brown 
behind stained boxes of takeout.

Brandyn Johnson’s poetry has appeared in The Sugar House Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, The Puritan, Dunes Review, and several others. He is an instructor of English at Black Hills State University in Western South Dakota. He lives with his wife, Anna, and their daughter, Ari, in Rapid City, SD. He still can’t surf.