the Cottage in July, 1965

Musty smell clings to sheets,
roaches run out of the toaster,
my mother screams and we laugh at her.
“It’s no vacation for me,” she says.
There’s a household to pack, hours in the car the kids
singing “Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall,”
laundry for three families, fish to clean—
bass, perch, pike, walleye—scales, guts, bones flying
the men—sunburnt and half drunk—returning each evening,
her son blowing up frogs,
her daughter floating into the rocks,
and all the while the accusing stares
of the stagheads on the walls,
nothing to do but watch a spider building her web,
at night, the fireflies, rising into the pines.

about the author
Native Ohioan Judy A. Johnson has lived in the Miami Valley for more than three decades. She is a freelance writer and a reference librarian at Clark State Community College. A member of a small writing group since the 1990s, she has written poems that have been heard on WYSO’s “Conrad’s Corner” and at Art and Poetry events at the Dayton Art Institute. Her book, A Week to Pray About It, a collection of meditations, was published by Cowley Publications in 2006.