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: