The Path Before
Inside this cup polliwogs drown
for the sake of a child’s curiosity. Following a man
wearing a long maroon robe around his shoulders,
a group walked the dirty morning streets,
pretending inner peace.
I was there, there in the sinking sand, abandoned
to mud and nature. I was there, handing out sandwiches
I couldn’t afford to make, following the one
with the robe, thinking he would save me.
Save me from the dead fish lodged in my throat,
from the desolation of my eunuch intimacies, save me
from the ulcer that tore apart my insides like a feral cat,
trapped and too far gone to look around.
Waiting at 4 a.m. to steal away into my cubicle
and watch the dawn break over the park,
or running with my brother
over the farmland of a mutual friend that frightened us,
who we kept because we had no other, as we sat quietly
on his cast-iron stove, quietly in the danger, not together
as brother and sister should be, but separately wondering,
never holding hands.
Copyright © 2008 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Juxtaprose Literary Magazine, Volume 1” April 2015
Poem nominated for “Best of the Net” 2015