LOUISIANA ETUDE

 

kudzu streamers in the cypress,

newspapers, bait and hooks,

overflowing a hut -

hum of prayer

click of bugs,

happy fools glugging moonshine

at the edge of brown swamp -

 

night falls,

barn owls hoot,

mice scurry

from a woman's sweeping

floral dress -

 

old man on the porch,

staring at rain,

sipping from a tin cup,

radio in his lap,

antenna up the nose,

music crackling in the gut.

 

 

 

 

IN THE BIG DRY

 

Grass brown, no rain for a month,

not even a drizzle.

Dead sparrows-in the garden.

Not even a tear can revive them.

 

Bare patches of ground

are as hard as God's heart.

Trees stand close

but seem so solitary.

 

The silence of the day

is a long piercing shriek

from soil to sky,

followed by a night

on moon-lit knees and begging.

 

The land's like lips

that once were kissed

but will be kissed no more,

 

Everything's dead.

So why no heaven?

 

 

 

 

LAST DAY IN HIS PARENT'S HOME

 

Winter came bringing deep snow.

Air froze, felt like sword points.

He roamed, about the house,

each step more reluctant than the one before.

"What keeps me here?"

White drifts lunged toward the kitchen window.

Here was one answer.

And this was his childhood home.

The signs, the stains, of youth were everywhere.

But if he didn't leave soon,

the weather could cut him off.

What good would staying do?

No stopping the inevitable.

The body ages even as the head tells it not to.

He'd become a stranger within these very walls.

Young people would freeze him out

like this weather did.

Old people would get older and not know him.

Face it

Not one piece of furniture, one cheap memento

on a mantle, would not be glad to see him gone.

He opened the door

and a blast of wind stopped him in his tracks,

tracks he had not made yet.

 

 

John Grey