about the author

Joshua Johnston was born and raised in Caneyville, Kentucky. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Sprung Formal, Ninth Letter, Hobart, and Word Riot. He is co-founding editor of Frontier Slumber and currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he’s pursuing an MFA at Indiana University.

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City Hall  

Joshua Johnston

After the giant was killed in the square
we cut off a patch of his flesh
and placed it under the microscope.
We saw that each of his pores
was a tiny ear, and this discovery delighted us.
We wondered what else we could place
under the microscope, what we could see.
We placed a penny under the microscope
and saw the kind of ocean a new
species can crawl out of. We placed
a dollar under the microscope and saw
a man dousing the side of a farmhouse
in gasoline. We had no clue what
any of this meant, but we were excited.
We were hungry for new things
to examine, things that couldn’t fit
beneath the old microscope. We decided
to construct a larger instrument.
Immediately a faction formed against this.
Have you forgotten the whole reason
we killed the giant? they said.
They broke in during the night
and smashed what we were building
with hammers. They placed the broken
pieces under the old microscope,
and what they saw they described
to each other in a language we
did not know how to speak,
one they adamantly insisted we learn.

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