Jill McCabe Johnson

Thoughts & Prayers

On behalf of the people for the people we’d like to express
our deepest condolences. For the victims and the families
of the victims we send our thoughts and prayers.
Thoughts & prayers to the victims and the families
after such tragic loss we’d like to express on behalf of our
deepest we send condolences in this moment of grief.
In this moment our thoughts & prayers are with you
all, sending to the students for their heartbreaking
losses the victims & their families our deepest
expression on behalf of the beautiful souls in this difficult
may they rest time in peace those felled by another mass
moment of silence and in our grief we wanted you to know
we’re pulling for you stay strong may your memories
comfort you we’ll light a candle you’ll always be
in our hearts we’ll never forget the victims and their
families we’d like to express our deepest for your pain
and prayers may they rest in heartbreaking moments
as we mourn these losses to unnecessary so unnecessary
violence only the good our nation die young & we grieve
with you you’ll always be you’ll never be forgotten
passed away on earth as it is in heaven give us our daily
thoughts & prayers on behalf of victims & their loved ones
for the bereaved the survivors expecting changes legislation
it’s too soon too disrespectful guns don’t kill people
people kill people so take care take cover arm yourselves
we’re rooting for you we’re sorry so very sorry
in the name of the father & the son & the holy
gun peace be with you & also with you forever & ever amen




               We all know the silencing of women.
         Like Brigid, the goddess the poets adored.

      She invented keening for her son who died
         on the battlefield. In honor of the healer and smith,

               women tended a perpetual flame that cut through
            darkness like a relay of whistles in the night.

         Her oxen, Fe and Men, worked the fields in service
           to her feminine powers. But medieval ministers

      demoted Brigid from goddess to saint, stole
   the fire of Imbolc when villagers lit winter wicks,

and renamed the festival Candlemasse, a celebration
      of Christian patriarchy and the false belief
            in virginity as a proof of purity.

               Every woman whose original ideas
                  have been appropriated by men
               and has been told it was a man’s design

         in the first place, carries the brilliance of Brigid
      and the burden of the earliest man who refused
   to shoulder responsibility for his own weakness.

The festival of Proserpine, the Eleusinian mysteries
      of Demeter and Persephone, the goddess Februa—
         each event venerated the dawn of ovulation
            following the passage of menses.

         It’s no wonder patriarchy rewrote
         women’s cycles into shame,
      silencing even our deepest
            tides of feminine might.



Jill McCabe Johnson is the author of the poetry books Revolutions We'd Hoped We'd Outgrown and Diary of the One Swelling Sea, and the chapbooks Pendulum and Borderlines. Honors include support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Artist Trust, and Hedgebrook. Jill has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, and an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Recent works have appeared in Waxwing, Crab Creek Review, Slate, and Terrain.org. Jill teaches Creative Writing for Skagit Valley College where she makes her home in the San Juan Islands.