John Grey


All the time in the world
existed back then,
in a field of white clover,
or a forest, so dense,
it could make me believe 
that the sun was the moon.

Air drunk on wild fruit,
I could escape to a rock
at the edge of a pond,
toss my shoes to one side,
dip ten toes in blue resin.

All the time in the world
laid claim to my birthplace,
the slow beat of summer,
and a garden half-way wild.

It was there in the grass-tips,
in the stalks, in the lilies.
It didn’t require an intelligent face.


The flat is round.
And the still is moving.

What begins as astronomy
ends up as skewed perspective.

I’d rather live on a planet
that made more sense.

But, without my knowledge,
sperm fertilized an egg
in the ampulla 
of a fallopian tube.

After that,
my choices were limited.


You do not live here.
You know nothing about what goes on.
You’ve never lain on the lawn.
Nor rubbed the bark of the trees.

You’ve never heard my father
say “yes” or “no” to anything.
Or found my mother sobbing
or totally mute or chuckling to herself.

You’re ignorant of everything
this side of the gate, the front door.
You haven’t sat behind the wheel of the car
pretending you could drive it.

When did you ever sweep the stairs
or play toy ferries in the bathtub,
or hear the humming of the wind
through the busted attic slats?

And you haven’t lived my life.
You couldn’t.
I’ve done it myself all these years,
without a thought of abdicating.

You can only guess 
at how soft my pillow is,
or the color of the rugs
in the living room.

But guessing is what strangers do,
people walking by,
who might spy someone or something
but go no further,

who, if they make connection,
do it only with themselves,
as a fillip for the moment,
as a mystery to me.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

Flights, Issue Six, September 2022