by John Grey

Yellow beam from my flash
            and I tell myself something’s not right –
as it runs ahead of me across the foyer floor
to the kitchen linoleum,
plush carpet of the oak-paneled parlor,
            where it almost sings with light
then a quick peak out of the French windows –
            rain’s not going anywhere –
a grizzly gray sideshow.

Then back to the places
where he once counted blessings –
terra cotta tiles
bordering fieldstone hearth –
            a crackling log
            the only moving thing
            besides myself –
a gaping mouth of ash
with teeth of fire flecks.

Photographs on the mantle –
            a guy in the midst of plenty –
            the face of sweetness, times of goodness –
            no wonder some people want to live.

And there’s the one whose place this is,
just feet, two in number,
poking from the bedroom door
and holding back my entry
with one hundred and seventy pounds of dead weight –
            have to learn the simplest things first –
            no way he’s moving –
squeeze through the opening
            then enter into dialogue with a dead man,
            discuss ancient text,
            the summer’s best songs –
no, I just stand there,
shove a ray of light
on his midnight-blue trousers, cream jacket,
find his face right where the pistol left it,
one eye open, the other in ruins –
            I pick up a spent bullet from the floor –
            it’s been in and out of the dead man’s brain
            if that’s any consolation.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in The Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.