Single rage returning
busted at the seams.
Empty frame, roofless
walls, poking out of some
hole in the pavement.
Underground gardens flourishing
speaking of dandelions and
tidbits of mercy left
at the wayside to collect
like a tossed-away overcoat –
I wear that overcoat every day,
every evening curled inside of it,
smelling the nuances of the places it has been,
places of music and unrequited love –
beige now and stained dark grey.
I long to regain the taste of its first wear,
when I was the exodus maker,
keeper of the icicle, explorer of a missionary salute,
bowing down only to clean it, sure of
my perfected individuality, saying something
monumental with its sway.
Those were days rich with equal
fear and hope, underneath the canopy trees, looking up,
past cloud ridges and bird flights.
I look at the TV or at nothing, smelling
the stains washed in mild detergent,
with the hope that some scent of back then still lingers,
covering my shoulders, hiding my hands.
Everything that was me, in me, outside of me
is already gone and I am not even 50, still able
to walk, hold a book, a conversation, unable
to return to a place of confidence
wrapped in this faded cloth, overcoat completion.
Copyright © 2017 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “The Blue Mountain Review, Issue 6” February 2017
You can listen to the poem by clicking below: