In My Hermitage by John Grey

I live in a shack in the wilderness.
Without ink, I write poems in my own blood.
I pick wild roses just so the thorns
will pierce my skin.
It hurts but I need the metaphors.

A mouse scurries out of his hole in my wall.
We share the crumbs.
We share the religion of the giant cat
that pounces on rodents and breaks their back.
To be honest, we don’t mind the snap of bone,
the gnawing at our insides.
We all must have our gods.

I slurp water from the puddles after rain.
Make believe it’s wine.
Sometimes I eat the grass
just like the deer do.
I no longer read “Walden”,
not now I’m living it.
Instead, I peruse my own stuff
in the scars down my arm.

Soon it will be winter.
That’s the season where
I finally get what’s coming to me.
I’ll freeze up like a piece of meat.
I’ll die of exposure
if the poems don’t get there first.


John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in The Lyric, Vallum and the science fiction anthology, “The Kennedy Curse” with work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge, Southern California Review and the Oyez Review.