To My Son, Seventeen

by Sonja Johanson

Whenever you mix the paperclips
I keep sorted by size in little bins,
rearrange the magnets which I have
neatly organized on the fridge, turn
all the silverware wrong way round
in the drawer, or pile the laundry
on this chair instead of that, you
propose a gentle joke between us.

When you smirk at me, gelasin twinkling
in your cheek, your look says I know
you need it that way, and I will put it back,
I will, but isn’t this funny?

For this I forgive you the messy room,
the milk left out, the forgotten homework.
You are the first person I ever trusted.

Sonja Johanson attended College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor, Maine, and currently serves as the volunteer and outreach coordinator for the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. She has recent work appearing in The Albatross, Off the Coast, and Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, and was a participating writer in Found Poetry Review’s 2014 Oulipost Project. Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine.