to no avail. Sitting as a new house sits
on its lot, needing occupants.
Sewer sludge, soiled napkins, anthills
too late underfoot. Held up by restlessness in the many gardens
of Mount Sisyphus, heave-hoe to the point
of rudimentary madness. Windows I look through, birch trees
I stop at to collect nuances, rest like the sparrow in hopeful
camouflage, wearing myself down with unrealizable dreams.
If I had claimed myself a calling
as a chaplain – ritualized pacing in university halls, my arm
around youth, accompanying my affection
with a spiritual smile, then I would have
the certainty of some kind of career, not be a carved body
on fire, totem of tripwires and earthquakes.
If I was a young starling neck deep in uncut grass,
pecking at exposed roots, I would be
sky, downspout, bush, tip of a cross on a steeple,
cured of isolation, taking flight and landing when I choose and
I would choose a fenced-in backyard
where a boy’s imagination owns the splintered bench, weeds
and a dug-up secret hole. I would watch that boy plot his course
and leap, knowing no separation,
I would spread, sing
Copyright © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Pyrokinection” February 2014 and “Storm Cycle 2014” August 2015
You can listen to the poem by clicking below:
“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,” Eric M. Vogt, poet and author.