John Tustin


If this was the end:
The moments
Before the firing squad
Did their duty
And I was granted
A final request

If would be to run my fingers
Through your hair
As I kissed your lips
And then
Put my lips to your ear –

No words needing to be spoken
As I kissed you,
As you put your fingers
To my incarcerated cheek

That would soon
Gain the final freedom
By the bullets
Of the incarcerator.


Lying face to face
With her breath
In my breath
And our smiles
Crooked as Old World kings,
I put two fingers
In her mysterious hair
And then the air
Around us is frozen.

Our forever eyes looking
Into the other’s.
The fragrance of flowers crushed
Beneath us.

Night after night,
This is where we lie
In a crypt overcome
With ashes and the lava
Of a volcano forming
Since the rise of the dinosaurs.
Immobile in our twisted love-pose,
This is where we lie
In my mind’s eye that is
The eternity of my sleeping dreams.


Passion stills all temperate thoughts.
Contemplative thoughts cannot quiet or conquer passion
Or give reverence to sanity and caution 
When I feel her fingers
All along the hair that waits for her
On either side of my face.

“How is it there are so often differences
Between what’s good and what’s right?”

I think about that as her teeth touch my ear
While thousands of clenched fists
Pound on the trembling windowpanes,

The rain coming in underneath them
More and more.

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. contains links to his published poetry online.

Flights, Issue Three, December 2021