Sunrise oozes through
fissures in the trees,
the mesh of early traffic
and birdsong.

Dreams are bullied from the head
by opening eyes
and yawning mouths,
like exorcised spirits.

A paper lands
on a next door neighbor’s lawn,
the one house left
that’s not connected
to the information’s dust storm
on the internet.

All that’s missing is
the clink of milk bottles
on that old man’s step.
It will remain missing.

We wake to
a gathering of self-evidence,
reconnect with
all we knew as of yesterday.

We stand and stretch.
Despite out senses’ stiffness,
there’s enough broadcast and reception
to get us moving.

It’s dawn.
We keep it simple.
Save ambiguity for after coffee.


Solitary gave up
on loneliness long ago.
The cabin tries to make a statement
but fails.
I am alone. Repeat. Alone.

Nearby, a lucky star observes
fog occasionally alighting
on a gray face
occluded by the night

Perched on a rock,
that wolf carries the
dark hereabouts.

It howls the song of those
uneasy in their skin,
who look to the silence for all their answers.

It could be desperate
for food, for company,
but maybe it’s just claiming bragging rights
that it can make something of nothing
with head cocked back
and throat slapping amplified air
against the distant mountains.

By day,
it moves in packs
of funerals
for its own kind.

But now,
it wallows in the mastery
of the seldom seen,
often heard.

One howl
gets my attention.
A second
is a duet.


Under ice, short sharp blasts,
a portent related to
a storm of falling bees and crickets—

then cracking cliffs, melting bergs,
a sad do-over
slowly making for the continents—

and then the sun joins in,
the thaw thus far
too slow for its indifference—

why not a rain of solar junk,
a creamy red sky of bursting blood blisters—

or buildings that split, tumble into pieces,
maybe a desert swallowing a jungle python-like,
explosions where shards fly here, there,
never to be fitted together
in the way we loved them—

the religious believe it’s all justice,
their flaming palms, the new stigmata
as the screaming child mirrors
the sin of a pack of burning fathers—

others see it merely as
the cataclysmic horizon
that we’ve been striving and sweating toward
that’s now coming for us—

the world in which we believed has fallen,
every step is a misstep, every leaving an erasure,
even the tears will be seared from angel’s faces:
there’s no second chance now the boiling air’s turned traitor—

once more, dying affords us the best possible view—
what we should have done finally shows its hand:
it’s one man, one solitary man, who needs convincing
but the chorus, loud as it is, can’t get through.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.