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 “Creation and Criticism, Vol. 07” October 2022
Published in “Medusa’s Kitchen” July 2022
You can listen to the poem by clicking below: