{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Joan Wiese Johannes,

from Port Edwards, Wisconsin, has published poems in numerous journals, including Wisconsin Academy Review, Rattle, Off-Channel, and Verse Wisconsin.

She also has three chapbooks, the most recent being Sensible Shoes, the 2009 winner of the Alabama Poetry Society’s John and Miriam Morris Chapbook contest.

She co-edited the 2012 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar with her husband Jeffrey, and enjoys sharing the stage with him for readings.

She also composes for the Native American-style flute and teaches workshops in which she uses percussion instruments and flutes to introduce and/or punctuate poems.

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My Turn A long poem should turn at least three times.
—Shan Gu

Sometimes I dream I am on stage
and can’t remember my lines.
The prompter turns the page, but the words
are blurred and the play unfamiliar.
I always wonder why I didn’t rehearse,
why the only line I remember is,
Things have a way of turning out so badly.
When I was a girl, I often paged through
my mother's doctor book, drawn to a photo
of a young lady clutching a purse.
She was wearing white gloves.
The caption said, Emotionally Disturbed.
I think I turned out okay,
but my sister was afraid of eyes in cedar
and faces in the wood-grain on cabinet doors.
When I left a book with a vampire cover
on the dresser, she had to turn it over
before she could sleep.
At the Hilton on her graduation trip,
she didn’t turn down the covers and tossed
and turned on top of the unfamiliar bed
while the chocolate against her cheek
melted into a Rorschach blot of a little brown bat.
She turned down the scholarship to Yale.
Now our car is turning right at the white sign
where too many curlicues adorn the black
reassuring words of welcome.
A freshly paved driveway, framed
by frighteningly beautiful trees, curves
to hide what lies ahead.