Published on Academy of American Poets (

Fixed Interval

When he turns fifteen, you'll be fifty-four.
When he turns thirty, you'll be sixty-nine.
This plain arithmetic amazes more
than miracle, the constant difference more
than mere recursion of father in son.
If you reach eighty, he'll be forty-one!

The same sun wheels around again, the dawn
drawn out and hammered thin as a copper sheet.
When he turns sixty you'll be gone.
Compacted mud, annealed by summer heat,
two ruts incise this ghost-forsaken plain
and keep their track width, never to part or meet.


Copyright © 2012 by Devin Johnston. Used with permission of the author.


Devin Johnston

Devin Johnston was born in Canton, New York in 1970, and grew up in North Carolina. He received a PhD from the University of Chicago.

Johnston is the author of several collections of poetry, including Far-Fetched (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), Traveler: Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), and Sources (Turtle Point Press, 2008), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

A co-founder of Flood Editions, Johnston teaches at Saint Louis University in Missouri where he lives. 

Date Published: 2012-02-13

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