First published in “dead snakes”, 2013





Strips of clouds,

pink-grey like a snail snatched

from its shell. So many days I waited, waiting

like that snail for permanent protection, waiting

as an activity to delve fully into.

Nirvana was coming. I saw it traced

on the dated sidewalk, etched on the curvy luster

of a raccoon’s still spine and in the devotion

of the rock dove waiting for its one decided love.


Nothing was ever enough to saturate my yearning.

Even for a moment, to remember a time before birth,

before the furious fluttering engine ulcerated

my stomach lining, or before my sanity became a soft noise,

fading. I could hear it like a basic desire I was forced

to forgo – sex, unquenched – like that but even

more. Like a crinkled cloth left on the subway floor,

I waited – dry, malformed, avoided.


The basement air is grooming me for an alien awakening –

maybe fluorescent, possibly ordinary, but better than

this sitting, tipping sideways on a broken chair.

Salt lamp on, a little fireplace or miniscule sunshine shining,

crumbling between my fingers, waiting

no more, moving at last

to another corner.



Copyright © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst




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