Overall I name the winter
mine. I took the sleeping bird
and let her rest away from the cold.
I opened my eyes to the kindred
shapes of mercy, and found myself reborn.
I held my past inside a thimble
to watch from an impersonal distance.
There I saw a land of curious blood
where death was light, and I listened to the blessings
of faith in its haven of broken wishbones.
There I ate the berries and tasted sand
between my teeth. Like love revisited
inside a prayer, my tale could mount
the beat of the sea and count the waves
of darkness untold. But here in this drift
my petals fade and I grieve my walk without fire
and the tongue caress of the growing soot.
But terror is frail and my vows have shown
to be more than ambition.
THE VOICE WE LOVE
The voice we love is a symphony amidst
the turbulent waves. It is as faint as hope but
it is the ring we’ve always cherished.
We have flocked towards the cave
where three animals live
with the sounds of vengeance on their tongues.
We have built the gate to pass through.
We have carved a wondrous
beginning. The silverbell has melted. Talk is nothing
but defining and defining.
The voice we love fills us like a miracle, has laboured
on the Earth too long. Time is an idol that binds
most hands. We were awake when we slipped
from the light into secrecy. All the while, the sudden
death, the funeral and the urn in hand. Now we are
left untied, eternity brewing in us like a mortal wound.
The voice we love is agonizing. It is a veil, a kindness
that harvests a good nation. It is the nerve that nurtures
the grief-stricken and the confused.
The voice we love clothes our togetherness.
It has cured the flames that once reigned violent
through our stream.
ONE TRUE LOVE
Creeping through the storms
of days and dreams and desperation passing
like an ant carried by the wind
out to the busy traffic.
One and two have been done before
and still there is no flame to heighten any hope.
In the distance, he runs like a dying horse
into this quenchless city. On the grave
he kneels beside, nothing is written.
The dust tells of the years without a garden
and the autumn leaves are quick to fall.
In this battle where his only weapon is 'holding on',
love is a salty lip and the tide that owns him,
carries no shame nor catches any shore.
EVERY STRAND OF HAIR
The night is missing its lark,
the secret inside the shellfish
has crept out of the waters onto the bank.
Horses tread the fields with broken tails,
into the mirror the anguished have been seduced.
Where the porous Earth is clawed by disillusioned
brides, children bury their favourite toys to
stay for always, underground.
Hungry, but losing the hunger, losing the need
to open the shutters and mince the living ache into
a long-begone mystery. Grappling, but no
longer with the important things like greed and guilt,
but with the stones on the curb,
the overgrown evergreens.
It is the inability to walk, the heaviness
that closes in and houses no air.
It is this cloud and that cloud rewriting
your name—the dry, impossible throat, the false
coin being forever yours.
The graveyards are smelling of spring.
They covered the green hills with straw.
THE NEED TO STUMBLE
I drop the pattern.
I say it is enough
of being frightened
of the worn shoe
and the empty bank account,
enough of bitterness
and wasted expectations.
I drop the gripping pain
of needing someone to ease my pockets
in this physical money-ruled world,
of not trusting the deeper light
nor honouring the many gifts of my household.
I drop the mental bloodshed,
the blame I inflict behind closed curtains
towards others for not reflecting my ideals.
I drop the hypocrisy of coveting a generous hand,
of hurting my love with bad philosophy.
I drop the gravity of existence,
of sitting on the floor waiting for that phone call,
and holding my breath when others let out
Love I know
in the spilled earth of
my garden where
there are two types of roses
and a hundred-year-old sin
washed by the shade of
Peace rises like perfume
in the tortuous summer heat,
and always it takes me into a haven
of rainbow hues. Always
I catch myself sitting and wondering
how this came to be—a child,
a husband, four cats and these flowers.
Green with grass and weeds, the yard is
my cushion in the shadows, and the wooden fence
where the blossoms creep is my guaranteed
I pick a tomato in my garden then caress the head
of an uncurled centipede.
Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 450 poems published in international journals and anthologies. She has eleven published books of poetry and five collections, as well as six chapbooks and one e-chapbook. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; see www.allisongrayhurst.com/. Welcome to the Kitchen, Allison!