What were you seeking

as you walked

year past year

through the talking crowd?


When he’d ask

of the cold terror

that would sweep through your heart

moving like freezing rain

towards his eyes

all you could remember

was summer

a week of silence in the heat

when you endured his visits

like a weight

you longed to unleash.


Beggars battled their hunger

near your home

you could smell the decay

reeking of bad alcohol

and heavy insanity


He would climb

like an old man

onto your body

inject his virility

fade into a dreamless snore

and you would listen to that awkward rhythm

thinking of your mother


waves never reaching shore.


All fled from your fire

sleep was short

waking was difficult

occasionally a star

would shake inside of you

spread its silver shoots

and separate the surrounding night.


You must have known from the beginning

how meagre his love could be

You must have tried hard

to inherit some joy

from the faces

you kept etched on your windowsill


Out of all of them,

his was the thinnest

but still some gesture of affection

fated to overpower you

when he held out his boorish hand

waiting to be love.


In the lonely air of age

grief watched on

as you laughed

fast and forceful

concealing the wound

behind charm and habit.


Selina, you died

like a country woman

barred by the pine trees

Selina, you wore clothes

scented with velvet flowers

and spring after a storm . . .


pretending the dance went on

despite your exhaustion.



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.


Published in “The Peregrine Muse” April 2018



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


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One response to “Selina

  1. Pingback: Selina – The Militant Negro™

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