The Psychopath Test~Sonja Johnson

The Psychopath Test
by Sonja Johanson

You –
you need better questions.  Not –
“Would you take things from other
people, if you could get away with it?”
Instead, you should ask “In 4th grade,
did you break Scotty Bilodeau’s
giant eraser?” – yes
“Did Scotty cry?”  – he did
“Did you feel guilt or remorse?” I felt
surprised – it was just an eraser.

Don’t ask “Are you often motivated by
the desire to seek revenge?” Ask
“Did it make you angry that your preschool
teacher asked a rhetorical question?”  – yes
“Did you go upstairs and draw on
the wallpaper?” – in yellow permanent marker
“Was that because she asked you to say
the Pledge of Allegiance? – I have always
hated platitudes.

And it isn’t “Do you feel sad when
people die?” It’s “Has there ever been
anyone you are close to?” – yes
“Has that person died?” – not yet
“How do you feel when you think
about that person dying?”
I am so angry at you.




Sonja Johanson has recent work appearing in the Best American Poetry blog, BOAAT, Epiphany, and The Writer’s Almanac. She is a contributing editor at the Found Poetry Review, and the author of Impossible Dovetail (IDES, Silver Birch Press), all those ragged scars (Choose the Sword Press), and Trees in Our Dooryards (Redbird Chapbooks). Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine. You can follow her work at



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