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Jon Grey

Tale of a One-Night Stand


The alcohol creates a terrible thirst.

Doesn’t bother to warn,

to prevent, this night, this threat of feeling.


She’s roughly my age

and tipped with nervous endings,

not too loud,

but friendly enough to touch my back.


In my new suit, hair combed,

I’m trash amassed like treasure

unappreciated, until a smile hatches

in her face

and I don’t want to appear ungrateful,

or retreat from an opportunity.


So – more volume,

more words, sentences even.

Vision a little blurry both-ways.


We cycle off. She leads.

I follow.

I leave my head somewhere in a half-empty glass.

Except for my eyes,

They trail the sweep of her skirt.


I believe we make love in passing.

Then gather our belongings,

continue down different roads.

What’s the verdict?

We joined but we didn’t make each other whole.


It’s morning.

Yellow sun.

Light white.

I stumble home.

My two legs

are just as I remember them.

john grey.jpg

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Plainsongs, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.

In The Ladies' Clothing Section


It’s the “men’s chair”

in a department store,

and I plump myself firmly

down in it.


I keep perfectly still.

No expression.

The last thing I want

is to be associated with my surrounds:

the flimsy underwear,

stern business suits,

colorful play clothes,

glittery accessories,

and stockings as sheer

as air.


My wife is in the dressing room

in the company of three outfits.

I am here

but am doing my best

not be here.


Meanwhile, there’s a guy

waiting for me to move

so he can sit.

He’ll have to wait his turn

if he wants to be a man.

Down To Her Last


She wanted to stay on

but the motel was fully booked going forward.


So she began to pack

though the room was crying out to her –

one more night,

please, one more night


of your lipstick-stained tissues,

your cheap perfume stinking up the bathroom,

your coffee cup full of cigarette butts,

your sheets half-on, half-off the floor.


She made three phone calls.

No one answered.

Then a fourth that ended

in an instant with a “sorry.”


So she paid up,

strolled slowly down the sidewalk

that overlooked the beach,

dragging her suitcase behind her

like one of Jacob Marley’s chains.


Below, a strip of sand

filled with noisy scrapping gulls.

She felt like some of the same myth –

everything has a right to be.

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