Lake of the Elms

Sky unending, temperature a degree or two
on the right side of warm,
no concerns, no plans,
I’m at the edge of a lake
for the first time under optimum conditions.

The fog has lifted.
The land makes itself comfortable.
In case you’re interested,
the sheep and I are doing just fine.
They nibble.
I turn off my cell phone.
It amounts to the same thing.

I’ve never been here before
but this is the kind of water that remembers,
a minor key so unlike ocean’s strident chords,
surrounded by heath that baas
but doesn’t ring or beep or whistle.

I found a graveyard.
Plenty of stones
but the sense that nobody really dies here.
They just disconnect forever.
One step further than I’m doing right now.

Lost My Way

I’ve lost the road to Colorado,
the imaginary line at the centre of my head
and I’m wiping my face and dropping hack.

I see such signals as bees whirling
at the shadow of a hawk and the wind itself
fluttering my hair in a doomed love pact.

In the midst of a black shape across the mountains,
I see fences spilling out of sight
and a disembodied head crowned by farm-lights.

Bleached flowers in yards, brightness
moving westward, glistening and soaking
the reddest of the soil.

Anywhere I sleep tonight will be
as a broken-down car at the side of the road.
turned to ashes by the dark and no chance of a Phoenix rising.

Life with the Land

Humidity overheats
and bursts like a boil
of heavy thunder, hail,
torrential rain and cooling.

Life begins with the weather,
simple thrumming heartbeat.
Then, drawn to the clearing sky,
work is awakened
by its departing symbols.
Time for heavy footprints in the earth
and heads bent low
in cornfields.

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John Grey is an Australian poet and a U.S. resident. His work has recently been published in the Tau, Studio One and The Columbia Review, with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, The Examined Life Journal and The Midwest Quarterly.
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