Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

Each summer I assist or teach the Science Fiction Writer’s Workshop for the University of Kansas. In 2000, I stayed for two weeks in a nearly abandoned dorm that was undergoing renovations.

Five bug poems


Just like last year,
the coin-shaped bug in the sink—
     small change.


The bathroom is filled with a number of bugs,
     Some sharp and pointy, and some flat as rugs.
Some bugs are sleepy, and some full of beans
      but all bugs unite in ignoring the screens.


Spiders like asterisks cling to the ceiling—


The male mosquito’s wings hum—
     the tiniest air raid drill


Summer night—sweating,
I hear a mosquito hum,
“They taste better hot.”

Why I don’t brush my teeth anymore

I’m alone in the bathroom. A bug sidles up.
“That toothpaste sure smells tasty.” It leers.
     “Mmmmm,” I say, brushing.
“You sure got a lot of toothpaste there.” 
     “Mmmmm,” I say.
“But then, there are sure a lot of us bugs,” it says.
     “Mmmmm.” I spit.
“More than there are of you,” it says.
     “Help yourself,” I say, and back from the bathroom.

© 2000 Kij Johnson