Poetry by Allison Grayhurst

Allison Grayhurst

The Clothes We Wear

Fall down and recognize
the river and its reaching sway.
Solitarily suited between what you gave
and what was refused reception.

Born on a balcony, hung over the rails -
so much work, so much love needed to
make it work. And then you grew up
and needed only a dark room to hide in,
the reproach of some sages and
the occasional charity.

Then your fire-ball bouquet of demands,
squealing and giggles drew blood and the rain
got stuck in the sky as the angels misplaced
your destiny. They cannot get it back –
some have tried, most have not even bothered
as it was fed into the ocean, swallowed up
by primordial beings, ancient, not used
to sunlight and heaven.

They swim through pressurized underwater caverns,
carry it stuck in their gullets, only to be released
when their centuries-old bodies give way to compost. Then
maybe a holy voice will hear it cry out, bubble to the surface
and claim its place back inside of you. Maybe, in that time
you will give value to the hallelujah
that fireworked through you when you first came here –
from another place, high up, but strange and dark too
as the ocean’s floor.

If there is anything open

I will return
from infinite dying
and the conscious swallow.
I will say – I will not want,
be a daughter of the root and caterpillar climb.
If there is anything worth keeping
I will keep it on the kitchen table
feed it blueberries, honor its language,
and biology.

But if is only echo, tell me clearly
so I can shut my eyes, turn and open them
elsewhere, find joy in sweeping the stairs
or typing in a mantra – all night, humming without erratic
fire or appetite. If my hands are only hands, let them
be clean, ungrasping, useful, in other ways, holding out
to offer, to receive, surrendering
bread, the stone, a smile.

Say good, say goodbye

Bright in the box in the cupboard
where the keepers of conscience and trivia
highjack the pacing depths
to replace it with an easily peeled-off
sheen. It is time to bloom,
to say goodbye to books and playballs of requisitions,
decoding philosophy and revelations in tune
with taking a stance.

Death, I am a robin’s feast with
dandelion breath
stalling at the toddler tree
worshiping what is yet to bud.

Death, you made me confused, me,
the revealer of the signs,
mountain-top screamer, fencer for
a fourth-dimensional world.

Flat rocks in a circle, gulls circling
one graveyard, spot
of significant mourning. Faint lines.
But God is solid, exact, without
need of interpretation. Death
is only a layer reached
and removed, when traveled
then traveled through.