Three Poems by Allison Grayhurst



I reached across the riddle-barrier,

shaved my head and walked through the door.

I took my clothes out of the closet

and burned them,

I watched the light dim all around

and walked over a cliff.

I did this without a choice, only a decision

to embrace a movement forward.

I was commanded to do this, and I consented,

not without struggle and self-loathing,

not without fear and a sense of deep failure.

Now I am falling, I am in the air, eagle-spread,

a sharp pain in my side and the wind whistling

its rapture.

Everything people do

is bound to kill them eventually.

Take dancing or bricklaying or being a mother.

I am still falling, I have not landed

in someone’s arms nor on the sharp rocky bottom.

The pain remains, so does the wonder,

as I fall, falling,

© Allison Grayhurst


Leave this place,

it is for beginners

and the ground is an overgrown

outside used-to-be sanctuary, trapping

you in its weeds.

Be steadfast as a revelation

years after being revealed, infused

to your intelligence, supplying water

and detachment when necessary.

Walk through the ruins then jump the fence

and do not relapse into nostalgia or a thousand

what-ifs that have no viable conclusion.

Pull the plug, cast away what was once

a masterpiece but has since degraded,

orbiting a dead star.

It is easy as taking off a coat on a warm day.

It is dialectics and you are at the nadir,

traveling the circle around, soon to rise.

Leave what you cannot afford to keep

as it is too invasive a burden

and you are ready to expand, stretch out,

canopy a richer domain, permitted

to be fully nourished and explore.

© Allison Grayhurst

White Butterflies and a Red Squirrel

Influences deserved

never arrive, and

the gift remains in the pocket

like chapstick on a cold day,

or as bits of sharpness to remind you

not to get too comfortable, complacent

or convinced of your rigorous calculations

when you calculate the sides of a square,

a triangle, an oracle reading.

People you thought would never go,

have gone, walked away

from sanity’s reach, most likely never to return.

Things you wish would have left years go, remain,

your days outstanding, tied to the

root-whip survival, lashing.

And there is more never expected –

a banquet of nourishing literature,

a husband still coalescing with brilliant light,

two children grown, kind and weaving,

and the animals, older, happy

watching the birdbath in the flush garden,

in a backyard that in the early morning

as you scan the interior and the perimeter,

you are sure that nothing could be more glorious,

pleasing, leaves you praising

for being allowed to witness such royalty.

God’s love heats up your pores,

fills your nostrils with green scents,

fills your ears with the chatter of communities –

sparrows, starlings, bumblebees, white butterflies

and the red squirrel. You are sure

such kneading, thinning-thickening harmony

is the natural state of being,

propelled to experience this nirvana, (spinning, spherical)

knowing tomorrow it won’t last, but also knowing

it will always last, existing, uncorrupted,

sealed, continuing in this moment, this morning,

this day, in this exact summer.

© Allison Grayhurst

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