I see the spider dance, smoke

dancing on the edge of a scream.

I am that spider

dancing as I continue downstream.

Can I be a tree or a curvy vine?

Can I grow a cloud or just one

bulb flower?

Fated to be broken like all else

living on the Earth, soiled, striving, but always incomplete.

Can I trust enough to win back my soul?

Be immersed in the fog and still know the way?


My keeper, my mid-summer garden,

the bull shark is coming with the encroaching wave,

swimming will not be enough, not a floaty, not a raft

will stave off its violent power.

I will need something larger to fit on, something absolute

to cull this danger, an island on its own, a hand,

blessed and strong to raise me from the inevitable grave.


Your love is all I have ever known

when I know love. Pick me up with the rest of

the laundry you plan to clean – make light work of me,

set me down folded, refreshed,

ready to be worn. I am prepared to live

and I don’t want to die

like a rusted vent, my metal

slowly corroding, crumbling until I am left without

grace, usefulness or substance. I don’t want to walk

into the darkness again – the hollow of all hollows,

wailing with pain and rage and nakedness

in the burning coal fires.


I am your child. I am your sparrow, please

open the cage-latch, cup me as your own –

then let me go, and my freedom

will give you joy, will give you glory.




Copyright © 2022 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “Clayjar Review Issue 2” August 2022



Published in “Medusa’s Kitchen” July 2022



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

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