Lips pulsing, forehead

enduring – pound, pound

in the nightmare night –

high winds, blazing storm

and thinking “all alone!”

Centre of a circle, surrounded by loved ones

who have turned their backs –

poverty shame, fed-up with helping.

And there it is, the rabbit screaming

in a leg-hold trap, compressed, bones snapped.

There is this place of Earth called home, survival

and self-preservation paramount. Nearing now

the rotted root, my hands are slashed,

fingers twisted “Do not land!” the voice says,

pulsing as I sleep, denying all pleas for mercy.


My father would have saved me, but he is dead,

died long ago, too young of too big and too broken

a heart. My father would have helped me with love

in his eyes, growing old would not have blocked his kindness.


The streets all go south to the lake and drown

in freezing polluted waters. I go south with them,

passing beach houses, cafes I once sat at.

I am done here, let me be done, I can

not carry this inheritance.

I cannot lift my foot another step.

I have one true-heart companion and we have

been shunned together – our home, our children

taken from us to feed the snapping jaw.

Dreams made of thin glass, roses plucked to the core.

Take me like a log and feed me to the campfire, let me

turn to ash so I can start again.



© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “Along the Way: A Contemporary Poetry Anthology” December 2018




First published in “Apache Poetry” February 2018




You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



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