Allison Grayhurst


One longing
Thriving in darkness,
one longing, reduced in the sun,
devoid of a plush pulse, dried up,
surrounded by feasting ants.
One longing, entombed.
One longing, dormant, awakened
divulged then defused. One longing
I should be happy to get rid of, but
I am not because it was a lifecord
bonding me to you, to your valiant warmth
and the promise of what I have never known.
I never received a soft forehead kiss from your solid
lips or your two hands kneading my
aching shoulders. I have let go of wanting it,
and am left hollow, still, without
wind over my waters.
I sometimes think of your love,
how it would have been to receive
a memento of reciprocated devotion.
How free I could have been
in your desirous presence.
Instead on this couch, in this same spot,
arms folded, feet cramping
from underuse. I walk, but
take the route of a circle. I’ve
lost the seventh sense which was
mine alone.
With no hope of you,
I am not whole, with the hope,
I am doomed. So I kill the hope,
leave it mid-road, so tiny
cars cannot see it to avoid, so deformed 
children cannot feel for it
to save it from destruction.
It is a blood clot
unknotted, holey socks
thrown out, birds used to a
a blue sky unleashed, grounded,
underfoot. A mealworm left
on the kitchen floor. Sibling animals,
connected beyond species recognition, beyond
cultures and ways and voices communicating.
Sugar cane on the tongue,
sucked on as a child –
remembrance of a heritage
destined to remain as stories embellished when told.
Great moon of the planet I escaped from,
I almost made it to you, that far, almost sat in your
crater-circles, gawking at the constellations.
I made it just past the stratosphere. But you know my body then
was the best it has ever been – gravity had been overcome,
no hollow bones or connections I could barely bear
to stomach. As it is, here, in this form, that body has died,
the soldier in me has died, along
with the guilt-ridden mushy heart
and the resulting fury. The light is perfection
on my back and flowers are here,
some wilted, some emerging.
Chiseling away the template mould
Like cotton spread,
thinning, rifting,
my mind was sold to tiny pills, angular
remedies that did not bother with results.
Saggy eyes, thoughts in slow motion,
funneling anxiety into walking dreams –
circulation corrupted, fingertips,
the tips of thumbs, dead and decaying.
I lie down across the end of this wave,
I lie down across a weakening buoyancy, see
two dead angels on the water, immaculately
spread, those keepers of simplicity,
seraphims guised as seagulls, see
connection perfected, the veil
between dimensions dissolving.
Later, another comes to hover, circle as I lie down,
mourning. My shoulders are blown, my arms are breached,
my back tightens and will not ease off. It is snowing
and it is spring. Angels continue to arrive, solid in their
grieving grace, circling the blank space that is bare space
around my head, edging inwards, into corners
I can finally talk about. Now
I can submerge my torso, my extremities,
see under water, grow callouses where they are needed,
hurt as I transform, hurt as I surrender
forcing myself through
levels of tight resistance, hurt to not freeze, still
talking to the angels who crest the water, but I am under
the water, becoming a seed that consumes itself,
breaks its shell, sprouts, breaks
the tethering hold.
My Lord is Majesty (let me)
Blood in urine, the path-flight of
a plane across a low horizon. Lifting,
spinning, a dream-drop like floating.
The answer “no” is all I am capable of. Kiss
me, let me be my fragmented self,
burrow like a termite into tree bark,
seeking living wood, or be a beetle
resting on dewy grass long
before the heat of noon, or like a weed
straight, tall, uninhibited by the cutter’s twine.
Let me be the shape of clunky cluster clouds,
a berry ripe, rich and easy to eat. Let me steal into
the veins of a garden rock, follow a squirrel’s pawprints
up across electric wires. Let me speak before I know anything,
before dread comes to cave my thoughts into a knot-hard ball,
sealing me with silencing futility, sucking out
the heart-beat of magnificent, like a fish flapping
in the oxygen ether,
hooked to a string, hooked to a stick, held
in a small child’s hands. Let me have faith again
in spite of this crushing calamity, trust again
in the companionship of God, protector
of what keeps me sane, merge with
God on every road, every forest path
missed, where the shadows are overbearing,
and the humidity!
Bear me up, Jesus of my master throne,
I see the light overcome.
I feel the toil and tear of survival’s whip,
feel this death come as a swarm of wasps –
the sound of many waspy legs nearing.
Bear me up, be for me like the purity of a washout,
deafening the tone of insect language, turning
these horror groans of my stretcher-strapped plans
into a strange body peace –
though stung, encased, consumed, bear me up
wet-cloth soothe me, embrace me through this heart-ache,
bear me up, give me the strength to surrender
into this death, into this exhale of absolute release.
Buckling up, keeping pace
never knowing when the heat will rise,
and overtake your sanity with its little alien
leaf worms burrowing into shallow crevices,
making crevices into canyons, unmanageable and ripe
for more irreversible destruction.
Normal as the sun and its radiation,
glory be the farce, biology, a pre-disposition
for madness, suicide
at 4 am – gunshot to the head
all for a ruined reputation or for love
lost during an Indian monsoon season.
A child playing early morning, opening doors,
a door, four-years old finding his father,
dead on the floor – blood pooled, drying,
vacuumed out blue steady eyes.
It was right for that boy to become a man who
turned to God and charity and
not to status, right that he knelt every night for his
five children, never knowing he would make it through
the violent revolutions, make it through losing
money, home, country and dog.
He made it through,
but not long after that. Not long after
the boat ride across the Indian, the Atlantic oceans,
leaving Eastern philosophies for a cold rainy winter pavement,
he died, giver of coal, on a doorstep,
finally home, in a country where he no longer belonged or
could find a way to honour the majesty, the tenderness
of what he built before.
Fingertips tingling too long
and lasting to not be a disease,
What does the chaos filter into, focus on,
transition to? The sky is green
against an even greener tree.
You count to the minutes through each day –
this thing, that thing, to do, get through,
not for yourself, but because you are committed,
because you love and know the consequences.
Dandelions under chaos,
fold the covers –
go back into the
Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, she has over 850 poems published in over 380 international journals. She has twelve published books of poetry, seven collections, nine chapbooks, and a chapbook pending publication. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay;
            Some of the places her work has appeared in include Parabola (Alone & Together print issue summer 2012); Elephant Journal; Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; Agave Magazine; JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, Drunk Monkeys; South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry, Storm Cellar, morphrog (sister publication of Frogmore Papers); New Binary Press Anthology; The Brooklyn Voice; Straylight Literary Magazine (print); The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International; The Cape Rock; Ayris; Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry; The Toronto Quarterly; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.

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