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 “Creation and Criticism, Vol. 07” October 2022



Published in “Medusa’s Kitchen” July 2022



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

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