Winter Times, John Grey



Snow queen dies before she becomes a star.
Passing trucks growl louder by the second.
I feel disconnected and can’t remember
this woman’s name –
the one who’s always going on about
her cooking classes in Paris.
It’s dark outside my house
and even darker when I step inside.

I’m swinging a cat
to prove how little room I have.
I try to enter the temple
but a black duck crosses my path.
I’m being squeezed out of everything…
from the beach to the gateway to the cranberry bogs.

Everything is either blue or gray.
Except for her eyes which are gray or blue.
I come across an old drum.
My hands are too useless to play.
I must compensate myself with reflected sound.
Everything I think I know
I’m pretty sure I must have dreamed.

The cat pounds the drum
and it reverberates.
I walk in snow
and it lands on my eye-brows.
For snow and I went to school together,
I in my fuzzy sweater and useless footing,
I dreamed of a girl.
I hated my mother’s food.
I was useless in linguistics,
a pass in biology.
It was my sorry discovery
that distance is always a whole lot more
than the crow’s route.

My ear canal is acting up.
Neighbor’s kids are shooting BB guns.
I live on a small planet
that’s occasionally beat up by weather.
Sometimes, it’s hard to stay awake.
Once, my head felt as if it had cracked like an egg.
Here and there, walls curve inward.
I can remember some aspects of the past clearly
as if they were part of a balancing act.

Being cold is hungry work.
And it shapes who I’ve become.
It can speak Chinese.
Sometimes it asks me for the next dance.
My wife says it’s just one more black hole.
She tries to shield me from the wind
with the shimmer in her eyes.
And she helps me dispense with all this misdirection.

Snow is reminiscent of people and happenings.
It glides down the windowpane
and then drops into the nothingness.
The air is bitter
but warmer where the head lives.
There’s been a lot of falling in this place.
The eyes close
so the heart can get back in the saddle.

John Grey

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