John Grey, 2/6/2011

Current Occupation: Financial Systems Analyst
Previous Occupation: Bank teller
Contact Information: Australian born poet, US resident since late seventies. Works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in Connecticut Review, Alimentum and Writer’s Bloc with work upcoming in Pennsylvania English, Prism International and the Great American Poetry Show.



We greet her weariness
with alcohol,
her turmoil with a parlor chair.
She expects us
to listen to her
the way she listens to others.
But we’re too back and forth,
dismissing her needs
with our end of the conversation.

This is no place to piece together
personality from words,
trauma from inflection.
We’re not microscopes to probe
or hands to sift her silt for gold
nor do we bust through the weak points
in her emotional dams,
stand back for the gushing.

Sometimes, she brings her briefcase,
sits it prominently beside the chair…
the container, locked, important surely,
stuffed with papers, pills and photographs…
maybe we’ll get the inference.

But patients are just overwhelmed by people
and nobody’s a doctor in a crowd.
When she sighs, “What a day I’ve had,”
nobody equates that with a life she’s having.



His combine rusted years before,
his crops are so many times turned over,
even his conversation fades into
the picture I hold in my hand.

Can’t smell the diesel on his fingers,
the gravel and the haymow in his breath,
see his truck lights shining
up dark country road.

Time scrubs a photo clean of corn-field,
steers and hogs, of one man
in his fields checking gates one last time,
all but the one the years slip through.

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