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.
I'm standing in the wind.
We had five years left to cry,
stay in, get things done.
The wordy gurdy stands
quiet in the middle of my head;
missing pieces [with just enough
shine] rubber-banded tog-
Back then, when she rose
from her beach chair, the weave imprinted itself
on the backs of her jiggly thighs.
Who would have carried it this far,
up the crest between watersheds,
then quit before the downhill?
This was your domain.
Pocket jingling a handful of brads, flat pencil behind your ear,
you’d bore through the browsers; pay and go.
When you rose from the sea
the crown of your head
touched the clouds
A conveyor belt delivers mutton and fowl.
Hot meringues suffer and collapse
under my ruthless fork.
His breath tripped over words stuck between his teeth
and tongue as sinewy shoulders curved.
The child stood, small, shivering in her tattered brown coat,
a dented, scuffed brown suitcase gripped in her hand.
mushrooms, beets, carrots, cabbage,
uncle’s ashen face.