Joshua’s Shoulder


Joshua’s Shoulder



The herd was on a hill

Soldiers were marching

Young people were below, learning

how to grow up correctly.

I touch a cloud with my tongue,

cried on Joshua’s shoulder

        Will they every be resurrected?

        Will the horn blow,

        beat heaven into every heart?

        I had a dream Joshua,

        we were on a clear river

        sailing on a gigantic leaf

        we were more than happy

        never once striving for shore.

Joshua stretched out an arm

a finger

drew a circle encasing us

        My love,

        I would break in a minute

        if not for your soul

        pressed so close to mine

        Choose your smiles well

        not everyone understands laughter

        like we do.

The rocks dislodged from mountains

covering graveyards.

An old woman was reciting her name

in front of a mirror, a child

she once knew, remembered

herself to be

Dead fish lay on the beach,

their eyes, like marbles

glowed, all suffering


as if locked inside

a wisdom

no human could unmask.

I lifted my hands

to give thanks to the birds,

leaned on Joshua’s shoulder

and whispered


        The flowers are stones

        and the stones are stars

Joshua nodded

took my hand

and changed direction, tears

leaving his strong eyes.




Copyright © 1989 by Allison Grayhurst


Joshua’s Shoulder was published  in 1989 by The Plowman, written by Allison Grayhurst under the pseudonym of Jocelyn Kain.

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Published in the “Peregrine Muse” April 2018



First published in “The Plowman: A Journal of International Poetry” 1989


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