TWO A.M., HOME AT LAST
I'm here because it's early morning
and the streets are done with me.
Sidewalks have given me up for dead or drunken.
Brown canals would rather I not stumble,
drown in them.
And the couple kissing on the fire escape
suck the air out of my lungs so fierce
there's not a whiff of this pretzel, subway air
left to breathe.
I'm here because the average Joes
are hunkered down in their caves,
the average Jills beside them.
Outside now, it's all freaks and geeks,
legs and kegs, bars and cars, grins and trash bins
colliding in the humid air.
I slip into bed and yes I listen to you
block out ten thousand noises,
nudge against your thigh
to rule out each and every other touch,
stare intently at your shadowed form
so the city can't rise up around you.
Yes, it is a callous sky.
Brown fields barely acknowledge
the flighty wind.
The farmer does not shift his eyes
from the famished soil.
Not even passing children
can distract him from the cruelty.
His wife can only think of sagging breasts
at a time like this.
Their son has many sticks to play with,
each as dry as bullock's bones.
He rattles the falling fences,
swings at hot and dusty baseballs.
Small planes fly over, circle like hawks.
Meanwhile, the hawks look more and more
And all that carrion down below.
John Grey's latest book is “What Else Is There” from Main
Street Rag. He has been published recently in Agni, Hubbub,
South Carolina Review and The Journal Of The American Medical