Primary Colors
Daniel Johnson

Primary Colors

We see it all,
if we’re lucky.

The green of your gaze
pins me under
the blue

of the awning
at Dukes Café, so now
even the clouds

reflected in
the oily river, which
bounds the blunted edges

of our city,
are transmuted with
primary colors.


My darkened
bedroom—I swing
the window open.
Barrack Street cobble-
stones erratically,
shouts out under

the moon’s pallor, and color
comes back to me—our
coffee, the sycamore

we sat beneath
in Fitzgerald’s Park,
its intricate leaves and branches

like chandeliers
above our heads
as a rain shower passed.

We admired the dripping
flowers, petals luxurious
with water.


Out the back on break
for a quick fifteen, tired out,
surrounded by scuffed

cinderblocks, spent
cigarette butts, skips
of broken glass.

How many ways do we paint
the world lame, make it
unenthused, rough with dirty

beige, pockmarked with scars
of grey like old bullet holes
from a forgotten war

which changed nothing,
the world in a dull clamor,
issuing a slow groan.


But you: royal blues,
leaf-greens, coffee browns,
blooming petal pinks, yellows, reds.

Daniel Johnson

is a writer from New Jersey. A graduate of the M.A. in creative writing program at University College Cork, he teaches at St. Michael's College in Vermont. His work has appeared in such journals as Southword, TIMBER, and Reed Magazine.