The First Time I learned Its Name By Talicha Johnson

The First Time I learned Its Name

that movie, A Beautiful Mind, was on the
television, and at some point—maybe during

commercial break—my sister said to me,
You know, for the longest time it was hard

for me to watch this movie. So I asked why,
feeling on the brink of something.

Because of our mother, she’s schizophrenic too.
That was more than the brink, that was

the something that answered the question
everyone had always neglected.

It took nineteen years for someone to finally acknowledge
my mothers mental illness,

to put a name to the thing that left her a running faucet.
She flooded my childhood.

No one had bothered to teach me to swim.
I still only know how to hold my breath,

to wait for the waters to slow, how to find
the things that are floating,

and hold on to them.

By Talicha Johnson


Talicha Johnson is an American poet and an aspiring novelist. She was a member of Charlotte’s Respect Da Mic Slam team in 2010, and has competed on a national level at both the Women of the World Poetry Slam and the Individual World Poetry Slam. Her work has appeared in Germ Magazine, The Four Quarters Magazine, The Legendary and Boston Poetry Magazine.


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