The bridge rumbles as I drive across,
Below me is yesterday's town:
brick crumbling, machinery rusting,
the industrial revolution's terminal ward
by the slow brown river.
It's the barren heart of winter
so there's no pretense in the bare trees,
the icy sills of the boarded up union office,
the snow dusted vacant lots.
the silent white-capped scrap metal yards.
At least the hospital has a new wing
and so, it seems, does the cemetery.
The ones who used to hold down jobs
The peeling paint of
the house I grew up in
is a different color of course.
And there's a mere trace of a garden.
Or a fence.
To be honest, memory has a hard time
with what I see before me.
I spy a woman's face in an upper window.
She is as strange to me as anything else
in this town.
But I am where the strangeness ends for her.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.
When he had finished writing, and crossing out
and standing and rewriting, and looking
out his window, and feeling the sun
I stood and watched you sleeping, had
stood there watching for nearly five minutes in
the shadow of the
hallway for nearly five minutes of circus
time before I dropped your purse on the chair, quiet as death
If I could, I’d use
my recently purchased cell phone
to call the pay phone outside
the community swimming pool
in Fairview Park, Normal, Illinois,
that summer when I was eleven,
and the country 200.
It was the night we were told we couldn’t pretend we were Catholic.
The priest turned only toward you and said, “It’s between you and God.”
And you cried.
I dream of her,
childish and illogical,
straight hair and tiger-eyes.
My punk-rock gothic-pixie little sister fourteen fresh faced
We listened to The Cure during art class Made bongs and pipes
out of ceramic You taught me how to kiss people who could
never love me
Supermassive Black Hole swallowed your cackle-low
Cosmos whisper pretty Come here darling and you come
I hope I never forget that pack of middle-schoolers
at the playground near my house, how they acted
like middle-schoolers, shouting their conversations
across the neighborhood as if showing off new sneakers,
the boys doing mean things to the girls,
the girls saying mean things about each other.
head, right arm
behind the back, fingers
curled around the left arm’s inner
We all live on the Hudson, America’s only true river. It’s
a driveway, a landing strip, and a dead end. The Hudson is not the only river
to become a school, but it is the only one once beheld by the likes of George
Washington, Melville, and Sir Winston Churchill.