Fall Issue 2022
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 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.
I stumble home.
My two legs
are just as I remember them.
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.
The last thing I want
is to be associated with my surrounds:
the flimsy underwear,
stern business suits,
colorful play clothes,
and stockings as sheer
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.