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
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: