poems by John Grey

Two sides to my waking


I awake in the room next to your sick-bed.

Through the thin wall,

I hear grunting sounds, sandpaper coughs,

your rough imitation of your own voice.


Somewhere in my dream,

I had you whole,

recognizing me,

your mouth forsaking dribble

for the comforts of a smile.


And now it’s light,

I crack my eyes to see,

through lace curtains,

the oak tree. some yellow weeds,

lawn in need of cutting

children next door playing,

their dog running free.


Everything’s alive out there.

Too bad, you don’t know the way,




A hike in June


A tiger swallowtail flutters through

the pointed blue-eye grass.


Bright yellow flag rims the pond.


A meadowlark, poised on a post,

whistles a loud tee-you, tee-yerr.


A groundhog nibbles the blades

at forest’s edge.


That’s four for now,

but a hundred

before day is done.






She hungered

and she slept.


In between,

she was so shy,

so unassuming,

even her shadow didn’t take.


Her motion was her identity:

tiny footsteps,

head’s dull reflection

in the buckles of her shoes.


She moved almost a stillness.

Ghost-like, she bypassed time.




On a July afternoon in New England

It’s four in the afternoon
from here to the New York border.
Everybody’s swaying in a hammock.
A warm sun’s witness to all that expanse.
No one’s working. No one’s arguing.
And there’s no such thing as garbage day.

A glass of liquid occupies my hand.
I wonder how it got here.
Ice-cubes are clicking and clanking
just the way they’re supposed to.
It’s not a beginning.
Nor is it an end.
It’s just a pause in the middle.
And every last one of us
is taking advantage.


A million phones ring. Nobody answers.
Other places leave a message.
But they just don’t get the message.

We are not to be disturbed.
My flat spine won’t hear of it.
Even my dog, in fact all the dogs
celebrate, in their own way,
the landscape’s downtime.
Rover’s curled up in a ball.
His ears are turned to the off position.

poems by John Grey

One thought on “poems by John Grey

  1. Everything’s alive out there.

    Too bad, you don’t know the way.

    This hit hard, Grey. Great piece.

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