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John Grey


We could all send blood,
a few drops of the red stuff
in a tiny corked tube.
But how would the editor
isolate the worthy from the doggerel?

Not a pound of flesh.
Editors aren’t Shylocks.
But maybe an ounce or two.
Like a little finger
severed from the hand.
Any editor with a half-way decent eye
could separate the slender from the calloused.

But everything’s online these days.
Body parts aren’t digital.
So words it has to be.
Sent from one stranger to another.
Popping up in in-boxes.
Words of indistinguishable blood.
Words of personalized little fingers.

Midwestern Boy

One moment, he is writhing on the ground in pain,
the next, in his truck, driving down old route 15.
No smoke, no noise, no grabbing at his leg.
Just fields of triple-tall ripe corn.

He always figured at a moment like this,
he’d look around for a sign.
But he closes his eyes, does that sign one better –
a scarecrow standing guard by the stalks

and wearing his favorite stained and tattered jacket.
Then the scarecrow asks, “Why the fuck did you join up?”
There’s a journal on the passenger seat,
some notes with little drawings.

About his wife. His children. The town.
Some are real happenings. Some are dreams.
That’s why, he tells the scarecrow.
Because of real happenings. Because of dreams.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Red Weather. Latest books, "Covert" "Memory Outside The Head" and "Guest Of Myself" are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Crucible, Rathalla Review and Open Ceilings.