[Poetry] — John Grey


Out of the closet,
rocking endlessly,
from the click-clacking
seashells on the mantel,
and the banging of windows
from the inside,

I saw a ghost
who called me beloved,

which made my heart toasty,

for to be loved,
even if it’s from beyond the grave
and it shakes up my furniture,
my bric-a-brac,
even my spiritual beliefs,
is always welcome.

Now, to the living,
what can I say?
They have everything:
flesh, bone,
brains and tongues.
Especially tongues.
And yet…not a word.

Oh how I miss
the apparition of love.


Sure, we go well together,
like Christmas and Louisiana,
when there’s floats on the bayou
and fireworks at the levee.
We turned tenderness
(think crawfish race)
into something more serious
(like being owner and trainer
of the fastest crustacean.)

Yet we hang onto the child within
the way ante-bellum mansions
won’t let go their ghosts.
And we’ve made something permanent,
not just once a year
like that suckling pig festival,
but more in keeping with the time it takes
to breed and raise and fatten those porkers.

You and I are still as frisky as moss pickers,
but hardy as oyster boats
and, like the fishermen,
we keep coming back for more.
You could call this chemistry.
But I prefer geography,
rivers that flow together,
form this cozy delta.

With us, everything is pleasure,
like fiddling contests or pecan pie bakeoffs,
where we’re both declared the winner.
And I look forward to the future
like it’s the upcoming Great Tobacco Spit
or a visit to the River Hall of Fame.

We’ll be together forever
for I see us as that famous statue of two coon dogs
looking up at a treed raccoon.
They’re in a coon dog graveyard
but that don’t bother them in the least.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, Leaves On Pages, Memory Outside The Head, and Guest Of Myself are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.