A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Caitlin Johnson


Having Never Been to the Plains

For James


I  can’t  conceive  of  Oklahoma.  When  I consider it, I  see yellow dust  smeared    across  a  flat 
expanse,  everything  tinged  with  ocher,  even  the sky.  But  in your eyes, I see the truth: brown of    soil,  green  of grass, gold of wheat,  black of tornadoes.  Still I  dream of  a washed-out  place, and    you the only colorful thing, a specter in reverse.


My favorite souvenir is a book called Masterpieces in the Van Gogh Museum. When I went to Amsterdam, I saw fascinating, phenomenal things, but none were as great for me personally as Van Gogh's artwork, because he is my favorite artist. Bringing a piece of him home with me reminds me of my trip and helps me look at the world through his eyes, which saw beautiful colors and landscapes.

Caitlin Johnson is the Managing Editor of CAIRN: The St. Andrews Review. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Her work has appeared in All Things GirlBoston Poetry MagazineCharlotte ViewpointFoliate OakFortunatesGravity HillInfinite Press Literary JournalPembroke Magazine, and What the Fiction.  She blogs at