John Grey is an Australian born poet. He was recently published in The Lyric, Vallum and the science fiction anthology "The Kennedy Curse," with work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge, Southern California Review and the Oyez Review.
The first woman I've loved who is now dead
occupies a place,
not in my heart, but in a field,
unfussy, just some weeds, some sunlight.
Details are overgrown with
bright and wild that I can pick,
that I can leave alone.
They exert quiet, peace, even
if I pluck the beauty, press it
to my chest, or if I merely bend,
and smell the meadow back
into its place in my world,
without a face, without a sound,
without cocktail hours or cinemas
or late night restaurants and dances
where the band played slow at our request.
The first woman who's been disassembled
of flesh and bone, who's no longer herself
in any way that can answer telephones,
reply to letters, is abstracted every day,
every moment, depending on where I am.
She shimmers in store windows. She sprouts
through sidewalk cracks. She's highest
bough, deepest crevasse, most garrulous birdsong
or richest organ chords, still with me.
So what would she think if she knew she was
a burst of yellow on a lawn? A cool wind? A shadow?
What would she think if I didn't have to?