E-ISSN 2457-0265

Vol. 5 Issue 2

John Grey



A creature

sits atop my voice,

ever alert,

but smiling,

its legs curled

around my tonsils.


It knows what’s at stake.

though animals can't distinguish

between their own needs

and those of the one

they inhabit.


If I whisper, “I love you,”

it will growl, “Please honey,

Spend the night.”






I’m Drenched…So What?


Sky grey and low,

my shoulders holding it up,

as I stand on this corner,

waiting for you.


Being alone

I can't move on.

Loving you,

I can't let the clouds

crush me.


Finally, drizzle,

and then heavier,

and at last downpour

and everyone under cover

but me.


Water through my hair,

down my cheeks,

dripping from my chin,

soaking my clothes...


You're here at last.

And I’ll do anything

to be in a poem with you.







Dog Bite


Page One


Dave had the dog for many years.

It only ever bit him once.


People said he was never the man his father was.

The older was tough and hard

as a tractor hulk.

Dave hit the books.

Who knows what Dave senior hit.


Fact is, Dave did better than his father,

made loads more money,

name in the papers,

even was a talking head on TV

more than once.

Dave senior was a mineworker,

every day toiling at the coal-face.


The dog growled at his father,

like it did to anyone it didn't care for.

The time it bit Dave, it was dark,

and the parlor shadows

must have brought out the father in the son.

The dog was confused

and snapped teeth around his leg.

It felt remorse later

as only dogs can.

It licked the wound and sobbed.


Dave Senior was a man that a dog

could take a dislike to.

Maybe it was his own snarl,

born of working all day in the airless dark.

Or his short temper. His cough.

Grizzled eyes. The stoop. The limp.

Dave was none of these things

and yet, when he turned his head a certain way,

the resemblance was stark.

Enough to fool a dog at any rate.





Dog Bite        


Page Two


Plenty arguments between the two.

Senior calling Junior soft.

Junior muttering something

about wanting a better life.

It sure put the dog on edge.


Lung cancer was the verdict.

For the longest time,

it seemed like it was the goal.

The old man knew the risks.

It made him work and cuss

and swing his fists all the harder.


The old man was two years gone

when the dog bit.

Trust a dog to keep a track of these things.






Out of My Element


I’m driving someplace in the middle of Michigan,

well off the highway

and, with twilight rolling in,

well off the brightness of day.

The landscape is fenced fields mostly.

Lots of cows who do everything but come out to greet me

as I pass by them

at the meager speeds these twisting lanes allow.


I pull over anyhow.

How often does a city boy

get to see, up close,

bovines with their heads bent down,

chewing their cud,

shunting the results

through three hungry stomachs.

Their brown backs ripple

but that just breeze, not my presence.

Indifference is their default,

to me, to each other.


It’s time to move on.

I have a destination to reach

and my high beams are eager to get going.

I’m on my way

to a cabin by a lake,

some friends already in residence,

my fishing tackle in the backseat

eager to make a show of outdoorsmanship.


I may not catch a thing,

never learn exactly where that next fish meal

is coming from.

But the milk supply is in good hands,

even if the cows have hoofs.

And my respite from work

will cast itself gently on the waters, 

even if there’s nothing biting.

About the Poet

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and the Round Table. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon.

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