Johnny and Mary


Ema Dumitru
Published in
1 min readJun 7, 2024


Photograph by Ema Dumitru

My mother and I becoming each other,
her bruises and scars passed down,
family heirlooms that will take
me decades to stop wearing.

—Taylor Byas

Johnny’s a lover who’s terribly late,
a lover who never asks me to stay.
Shadow that loses its shape
whenever I turn off the light.
Slamming against walls,
digging through his soul
for anything that could serve him as armor.
How else can he witness slaughter
without becoming the next?
Not that generous as to deliver his body
to a blade that never stops cutting.
I come into his mind
and give him a gash on the cheek.
Killing more time,
it’s a love language.
But he can never finish a year.

Mary I’ve never met,
but I hurt her like a secret.
Sharing custody of the same memory,
no tourist’s eye for what I remember.
Like being in Johnny’s room,