Two Poems

Tell Me What is Wrong

Talk to me, Gena.
I’m here to bring comfort
but first
I must know what I’m comforting.

I’m giving you a hearing.
No, this is definitely not a flirtation.
Yes, you are beguiling.
But your face looks subject
to three times the Earth’s gravity.

So tell me your troubles.
A calm voice is preferred
but if tears do manifest themselves,
I’ll merely wipe them.
I won’t run.

Yes, there’s a message in your silence.
But I’m not getting it.
I need a trail of words
like breadcrumbs in a fairytale.
Something I can follow
before the hungry pigeons get to them.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
Time speaks at least.
But it’s not the one here that’s begging for a cure.
Make it brief if you need to.
But give me something.

This is beginning to feel like a siege.
Don’t worry.
I’ll let the coffee and the aspirin through.

But why not treat your problem like a story
that happened to someone else.
We can spend a few minutes in the third person.
Bad things happen to other people.
So let them happen.

Besides, I have a kind heart
and it needs the work.
You have a broken one
I’ve heard from worse.


The Hike to You

I once figured I could get to you
the way I hike,
sweating the rough terrain,
coasting the gentle downhill.

I had the compass after all
and you were magnetic north
when you weren’t being the stars in the heavens.
And, besides, I had a steady walking stick.

I just had to keep at it,
climbing the craggy cliffs,
stepping over slippery stones,
scoping out the mountain passes
and slipping on through.
I went by the wind.
I took note of where the shadows fell.
I had my map of the terrain
which you might call a heart
but I know as topography.

Then night fell,
clouds took away the heavens,
my stick snapped in two,
my compass spun in circles.
I was nowhere in your world.
It was being lost that found me.

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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, "Leaves On Pages" and "Memory Outside The Head" are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.
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