In the middle, anywhere,
the Earth becomes a song,
a vision of its collected souls.
As the snake inches forward, then
consumes the still frog, the frog
thinking its camouflage and stillness
is enough protection, but it is not,
as high above nebulas continue to spin and stars
touch stars and explode.
How much compromise is permitted
before love loses its purity, its testimony to truth?
What is the threshold, obvious when reached,
when the deformity is complete and love
melts into a wickless waxy blob,
incapable of sustaining any flame?
In my mind, I am seeing you
as when I was 15, 21, 45,
seeing your dazzling eyes,
the lightness in your walk,
your unencumbered joy, remembering
our summers spent in Montreal, Phoenix, Toronto,
in renewing conversations and camaraderie.
In my mind, I will think of you
as one who has died and is not coming back.
Another spirit gone, to be thankful for
that you once were – like my father,
my many cats, rats, birds, big black dog
and my mentor.
You slipped on the mud, slipped up
and couldn’t return or find the courage to keep on the path.
You detoured into the plastic city, with plastic
placements, plastic bedrooms and digital relationships.
Poverty is hard, but still,
I expected so much more from you.
I thought we would take this to the end together –
as family does.
You broke our pact. You broke my heart.
The whole of a heavy high wave has collapsed on my back,
and the once singular flourishing mountain that was us,
has cracked down its centre, nothing left
but a barren flatland –
not a sprout, not a sound, not an insect,
soulless, seedless, dreamless, forsaken.
Copyright © 2021 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Atunis Galaxy Poetry” March 2021
Published in “Raven Cage Zine” March 2021
You can listen to this poem by clicking the link below: