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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Six Nov-Dec 2023.
Where you live now, poems by John Grey.
Where you live now
Hills succumb to afterglow,
trees dabble in woodsmoke,
birds already roosted,
the street-lamps winged shadow
of the street-lamp
is undoubtedly a bat.
In your screened-in porch,
you succumb, you dabble,
you roost, you doze,
you even spread your wings a little,
and all for the benefit
of clicking insects
drawn by light.
The pond slips into dark coma.
No way to tell where water ends
and sky begins.
Clouds cover stars as is their nature.
Pines become one pine.
Other than owls and wolves,
animals are nothing but unintended sounds.
You’ll awaken here
not in your bed.
You’ve shared those sheets.
The porch has always been
where you’ve laid out
your life like solitaire.
Some nights, it’s peace
and some nights, loneliness.
They do a doleful imitation of each other.
Growing old together
Having put myself
in a position
to grow old with you
I keep looking in the mirror
and then in your direction
to make sure that
we’re aging at roughly
the same speed.
You are still so youthful.
I have to smile
to slow down.
Cook’s lake, years later
We don’t merely stroll to this place,
we report here. Even before we see
the lake, the forest, for the first
time in years, we’re telling ourselves
it hasn’t changed a bit. Ken chases after
a frog. He’s slower, less amphibian than
he used to be and the creature easily
leaps away. Dave struggles to scoop those
tiny fish up in the cup of his hand.
I’m testing out the old rope swing but
my feet refuse to leave the ground.
We grin at each other but we’re silent
as if trying to describe to these things
we already know. It’s the same rock.
It’s the same trees. It’s the same
reflection of the sun and hills beyond.
When we do speak, it’s to declare
that we’ve not changed either.
Well everything can’t be true.
© John Grey
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Santa fe Literary Review, and Sheepshead Review. Latest books, ”Between Two Fires”, “Covert” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, La Presa and California Quarterly.