November 16, 2010

John Grey

HER LIFE                               

Crocus pokes through permafrost.
Imagine that.
A flower in winter,
lone soldier against
the armies of chill.
And then there's the dandelion,
wasting all that color on being a weed.
The evidence is out there.
Be vulnerable, be contrary.
Flowers fold, are plucked, beheaded.
And yet, remember color.
It won't remember you.


I didn't once look back.
There was enough in the sky to keep me occupied.
Show me one family photograph where there's
someone with their wings spread wide and soaring.
But blackbirds did it with ease.
Even lumbering mourning doves gained altitude eventually.
The eagle promised me a ride on its back.
And what did my father say but,
"If you want, I'll drive you to the station."

There was more color in one wild flower
than in a hundred of their faces.
And the signposts gave out information...
so much more useful than advice.
I drank in bars with strangers.
There's something about somebody I've just met...
everything they are is still to come.
Beer or no beer, who could surprise me where I'm from.

So many towns that weren't my towns.
Such a cornucopia of different accents.
And customs, like habits but with fun and flair.
I even entered a cannon ball toss.
Barely budged the thing an inch from the circle...
But a thousand miles from home, easy...


John Grey, an Australian-born poet, has been a US resident since the late 1970s. He works as a financial systems analyst, and his poetry has been published in Slant,  Briar Cliff Review, Albatross, Poetry East, among others.

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