ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by John Grey


Its pale tan body
is curled up in the leaves,
broad head, sloping snout,
alert and ambush-ready
in late afternoon
as shadows lengthen grasses
and add anonymity to trees.

For all its stillness,
the snake partakes
in an instinctive reptilian rehearsal,
awaits the next unwitting creature.

At ground level,
the copperhead anchors
the skittishness of mice and voles.



Days are always dull and gray.
The town, despite its lights,
sinks behind the drizzle,
is out to prove it never existed.
The yolk of my egg seeps drops of yellow pus.
And, for some reason, I keep wanting the birds
to fly into the window pane.

It's morning,
time for memories to drain themselves dry,
and a tuneless saxophone to blare
from somewhere in the neighborhood.
Has anyone seen my hometown?
What about my ex?
I'd even settle for a quick peek
at my grandad's old Ford Truck.

Derelict, duct tape, Deuteronomy -
it's time for some D words.
How about dread and dope-fiend and dynamite.
I long to be tough and witty at the same rime.
But I'm mostly like something
best-partnered with a cardiogram.

Wet light slaps against the window.
Nothing like purgatory to engage a guy's vanishing point.
Like the breaths that must be prepared in advance.
And the heap of abandoned smiles.
And the flat white arm reaching across the table like a slow river.

Maybe today I will get that phone call I've been waiting for.
My shoulders curve forward, my head drops, my backbone slackens.
in anticipation.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. His latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.

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