Wishful Thinking
by A.R. Johnson

"When the question that remains is who am I?
Be still my soul, be still"

Starting with Demessie-Shelton’s stirring book cover illustration that seemingly depicts the union of sky and sea, this poetry compilation speaks through multiple poetry platforms: prose, free verse, haiku, etc. Throughout the poetry, Johnson finds a multitude of descriptions and euphemisms to demonstrate the varying shades and acts of love. In “Don’t Move Without Me,” for instance, the speaker uses free verse to show how love interacts with life and fate, while the intensity of the lovemaking is depicted via verbs like croon and swoon and culminates with the singsong “anthem.”

Johnson’s creativity with language and syntax is evident in “I like,” where a combination of ellipses nested between the repetition of the phrase “I like” adds emphasis to each of the catalyst phrases, from desiring "to run fingers through her hair" to “basking with you in the river.” In addition, in “I’ll Find You,” love’s union is radiantly described as the blending of souls, a coming together of bodies of water that ultimately yields indescribable magic. While most poems dwell on love,“I Can Do Lots of Things” touches on a slightly different but just as vital note: There is no ceiling to potential. Where there is a resolute mind, the possibility to achieve exists. Perhaps capturing the sentiment of the entire compilation, the final poem, “Wonder,” simply focuses on the idea of being alive and living fully. Overall, Johnson stimulates the mind and the heart with his pinpoint descriptions that help audiences conjure moments of romance and intimacy with their own loved ones.

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