Poetry by John Grey


This could be the leaf your heart is in,
fluttering from its branch in a
subdued grace, picking out a puff
of wind here to angle it away from its source,
a dead spot there for more concentrated falling,
That could be the tree you leave behind,
its boughs, trunk, seemingly deader
than the hard, frosted earth,
but with a resiliency your life can
only dream about.
That's no moan as the harsh westerly
buckles it.
That's a quiet insistence that it has roots.

This could be the leaf
that's like a chronometer of our time,
whose veins dry in the October sun,
whose skin is as brittle
as a voice's angry notes
held interminably,
that feathers to the ground
so it can tell itself apart,
as if down in the mulch
is a freedom clearly and cleverly expressed.
And that is the tree
that, even at the death,
is the only thing standing.

This could be the leaf
that imitates the losses and the grief,
that flesh and bone
would only compromise.
And that is the tree that,
despite gray mourning,
is already shaping the coming days.

John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm with work forthcoming in Big Muddy Review, Cape Rock, and Spoon River Poetry Review


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