by Allison Grayhurst
When you talk it is not
a shimmering sensation or
a delicate fluttering of
nature’s delicate best. Days
are not here like you are -
an open sewer grate, a crushed
locust. They are smudged and flat
as a textureless dream.
Helmets wore. Grievers
with their now-permanent-grief etched
under their fleshy eyes, checkbones and chins.
I buy buttered pastries, leave them
by their doors. I hear your voice.
You are trying to reach me with an old painter’s words
of resignation and reluctant wisdom - words
I cannot make use of.
The dead evergreen in my front yard will not revive.
Like me, and these things I clung to, it must be replaced
with something of less substance, of more obvious beauty,
like a red rose bush, birdbath or sundial. Or,
I could leave it there, brown and dry - a monument
to what was once lush, gorgeously plump, once withstanding
winters, the heat of global-warming summers, green,
wondrous against my window.
I could walk faster than this, chat with the neighbours.
But I won’t. Because nothing is here but you, only,
and my feet can’t find the motivation to pick up pace.
You talk. My aura is a smog-filled season
where your sun’s rays barely seep through. Days
with stones in my stomach, rubbing against one another,
pressing their hard weight into places
I have no drug to ease. Will it be long? Years?
Will I make it through the fall?
Do you have more to say? Say it then, differently.
I can’t go on repeating,
where nothing shifts but these stones,
sharp-surfaced, blocking my intestinal tract, pressing
with each step, demanding acknowledgment, denied
release, a minimal hope