John Grey

AS SEEN FROM A COTTAGE WINDOW

The night sky
stirs in the window.
Mountains hang
like a dark mutation

from the last fretted
sliver of sunlight.
Trees surrender
their singularity
to shadow
until the forest
is gray and shapeless.
The lake is longer, deeper,
for disappearing in the darkness.
Wave after wave
slaps buried drums
under its shores.
All is immutable, impregnable
but for your kiss
gifted to my neck’s
quiet ridge
and the moon’s bright landing party
somewhere behind my eyes.

 

 

PLAYING IT SAFE

He sticks an unloaded gun in his mouth every day.

Better than prayer, he figures.

He revisits the war zone in his dreams,

turns to his comrades, not God.

He lives in a mobile home.

It’s nothing much but at least it’s not a hell-hole.

He once tried to slash his wrists but failed.

These days, he prefers going quietly insane.

He chats with his neighbor from time to time.

But the guy’s not shell-shocked enough

for a decent conversation.

And he doesn’t miss female company.

If he wants something to wail at him

then there’s always the wind.

He tried the needle once

but it picked out a vein when he

was aiming for his soul.

So he reverted to alcohol.

All his dead buddies prefer it to heroin anyhow.

He avoids his parents, his brother, his sister,

prefers silence to recrimination.

He has a wife and child somewhere.

And a few lawyer’s letters that he’s never opened.

The days go slow. The empties pile up.

The enemy is still out there.

He’s ripe for ambush

but thankfully out of range.

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