From the Editor:
John Grey is a widely published poet. His work appears in far more reviews and magazines than his short bio here reveals. We are always excited to publish the poetry and prose of prolific writers and poets here at Two Drops of Ink, and I can proudly say that we have many of these writers on our contributor’s page. We thank them for choosing to become a part of the Two Drops family. I know you’ll enjoy John Grey’s poems.
IT’S BEEN THIRTY YEARS
We’re the same age.
He’s been my doctor since
not long after
he earned that diploma on the wall.
In a kind of prescient harmony,
we’ve whittled away our youth,
creaked into middle age,
while on the job,
he with stethoscope
flapping around his throat,
me in a cubical
tapping on a keyboard.
He’s been like a piano tuner,
doing his best to adjust my body
so it retains a perfect pitch,
only middle C is my liver
and D #, a wagging tonsil.
My responsibility to him
is just to show up for my yearly physical,
confirm with a grin
that whatever he’s been doing
Like I said,
we’re the same age
and he calls me by my first name
but I can’t get beyond
the word “doctor”
when addressing him.
His hair is gray
My brown locks have
their own intrusive streaks
to contend with.
But, at least,
our minds reject any notion of grayness.
He says I’m in good shape
for my age.
I’m thinking he’s in good shape
for my age.
IN A COMA
The wind’s not talking.
It’s as silent as your aunt in St Luke’s,
the one in a coma.
In fact, it barely breathes.
For all we know, it could be dead.
Maybe the air itself will catch the same sickness.
Your Aunt Lucy was a pretty decent gust in her time
and look at her now,
her life more hearsay
than what we know of living.
There’s never been a day so still.
Trees look as if they’re presiding over a funeral.
And the grass has never been more untroubled
by the world around it.
Toss a piece of paper in the air
and it will land at your feet.
Just like Aunt Lucy’s breaths.
Birds perch aimlessly on branches.
Nothing to ruffle the feathers.
No drafts for cruising.
Look at Aunt Lucy’s eyes.
they may as well be stones.
You sit beside her,
hold her mute hand.
It’s not what I’d want from perfect calm…
not a whisper,
a hand that can’t hold back.
SHAPED BY WOMEN
I was in my mid-teens
and it was a warm Saturday afternoon.
You’d developed a crush on poetry
and offered to come over to my house
and read some of my early efforts
that I had, one day, unfortunately
bragged into being more than they were.
But you didn’t giggle as you perused
those badly scribbled works.
We were at an age when self-expression was everything.
Clumsy though they were,
you could have been combing through your own words.
I remember it as hot and steamy –
the weather that is.
A sudden storm turned on the cool.
You abandoned my poetry
for the open window.
confessed how much you loved the rain.
We sat on the sill together.
engrossed in that downpour strafing the puddles
it had already made.
Our knees touched.
My heart rate quickened.
You leaned your head out
until rain sprayed your bangs.
Then you pulled back and laughed.
I counted the drops down your cheeks.
In that gray light.
I swear you glowed a little.
Something changed in me that afternoon.
I absorbed the hair on your shoulders.
your first attempts at scent.
And the way you rubbed your lips together
when you weren’t speaking.
I inhaled them but I didn’t exhale.
You were part of me going forward.
SHAPED BY WOMEN
I think of you often
for no reason other than
so much of you was my first.
Sure, I sentimentalize the past
even when it doesn’t deserve it.
But what else can I do with it?
It occurs to me that
beginnings really do
dictate what follows.
One accident begets all the ones that follow.
One experience nestles neatly into habits.
Every woman since
is every woman before her,
all the way back to you.
It should seem strange
to speak of your life in terms of the opposite sex
but it’s what I’ve always done.
Some people cast such shadows.
There’s no secret to how mine are shaped.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review, and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review.
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