Strips of clouds,

pink-grey like a snail snatched

from its shell. So many days I waited, waiting

like that snail for permanent protection, waiting

as an activity to delve fully into.

Nirvana was coming. I saw it traced

on the dated sidewalk, etched on the curvy luster

of a raccoon’s still spine and in the devotion

of the rock dove waiting for its one decided love.


Nothing was ever enough to saturate my yearning.

Even for a moment, to remember a time before birth,

before the furious fluttering engine ulcerated

my stomach lining, or before my sanity became a soft noise,

fading. I could hear it like a basic desire I was forced

to forgo – sex, unquenched – like that but even

more. Like a crinkled cloth left on the subway floor,

I waited – dry, malformed, avoided.


The basement air is grooming me for an alien awakening –

maybe fluorescent, possibly ordinary, but better than

this sitting, tipping sideways on a broken chair.

Salt lamp on, a little fireplace or miniscule sunshine shining,

crumbling between my fingers, waiting

no more, moving at last

to another corner.



Copyright © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “Dead Snakes”

Dead Snakes 1Dead Snakes 2


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



“Allison Grayhurst intertwines a potent spirituality throughout her work so that each poem is not simply a statement or observation, but a revelation that demands the reader’s personal involvement. Grayhurst’s poetic genius is profound and evident. Her voice is uniquely authentic, undeniable in its dignified vulnerability as it is in its significance,” Kyp Harness, singer/songwriter, author.

“Allison Grayhurst’s poems are like cathedrals witnessing and articulating in unflinching graphic detail the gritty angst and grief of life, while taking it to rare clarity, calm and comfort. Grayhurst’s work is haunting, majestic and cleansing, often leaving one breathless in the wake of its intelligence, hope, faith and love amidst the muck of life. Many of Allison Grayhurst’s poems are simply masterpieces. Grayhurst’s poetry is a lighthouse of intelligent honour… indeed, intelligence rips through her work like white water,” Taylor Jane Green, Registered Spiritual Psychotherapist and author.


Book review of the River is Blind paperback:

“Throughout (The River is Blind), she (Allison Grayhurst) employs 
reiterated tropes of swallowing and being consumed, spatial fullness 
and emptiness, shut- in, caverns, chasms, cavities; angels, archangels, 
blasphemy, psalms; satiation or starved. With a conceit of unrequited sex as “my desire”, nocturnal emissions, awakening in the morning, the poet lives at capacity, uninhibited, dancing,” Anne Burke, poet, regional representative for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’ Council, and chair of the Feminist Caucus.


“Allison’s poetic prose is insightful, enwrapping, illuminating and brutally truthful. It probes the nature of the human spirit, relationships, spirituality and God. It is sung as the clearest song is sung within a cathedral by choir. It is whispered as faintly as a heartbroken goodbye. It is alive with the life of a thousand birds in flight within the first glint of morning sun. It is as solemn as the sad-sung ballad of a noble death. Read at your peril. You will never look at this world in quite the same way again. Your eye will instinctively search the sky for eagles and scan the dark earth for the slightest movement of smallest ant, your heart will reach for tall mountains, bathe in the most intimate of passions and in the grain and grit of our earth. Such is Allison Grayhurst. Such is her poetry. THE RIVER IS BLIND is a must-read,”  Eric M. Vogt, poet and author.




4 responses to “better

  1. Amazing poem. The dark undertones are brilliant. My favourite: Like a crinkled cloth left on the subway floor, I waited – dry, malformed, avoided. So incredible.

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