After the Beep

With her keyboard, she found a tune
so we could sing our message,
as if we were a giddy couple
corny from having finished the nursery
instead of roommates creating a summer Sunday.

We pressed record a dozen times
before it all came together: her music, our lyrics—

            we were home sometimes
            but not all the time
            this was one of those times

—the laughter we wouldn’t keep to ourselves.

Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. Her second book, Ghost Sign (Spartan Press, 2016), is a collaboration with fellow Kansas poets Al Ortolani, J. T. Knoll, and Adam Jameson. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Rust + Moth, Broadsided Press, The Midwest Quarterly, velvet-tail, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. For more, visit

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