In its old age, the universe
has become these people I know,
physically close, emotionally
at their far reaches.
In the motion of their recession.,
their red shift, they have turned
into spectral lines of cold faces,
crimson wavelengths of unflinching hearts.
Conversation now is the constant
ratio between speed and distance.
Love can be calibrated to 17
kilometers per second for each
million light years someone has
moved away from me.
The way they explain it,
75 perfect of everything is hydrogen,
25 percent is helium, and we're
We float about, heavier, more
complex than the primordial stuff around us.
That we sometimes meet
is mathematical chance, scientific randomness.
But yes, sometimes odds will have their feelings.
Catching that Train
This train takes daily trips back to my adolescence.
It stops at the school dance. It waits for me
while I disembark, kiss Marianne.
And it doesn't even get jealous
when I ride the limo for a while.
I appreciate that it won't correct me
when memory and reality part ways.
If I say I aced the test, then it drops
me off in that classroom,
feeds me answers
like a Persian serving girl with grapes.
It doesn't talk me out of bad times.
If I want the day the old man
lost his job at the foundry,
it won't let me out a week before.
It's been to a sister's cancer a thousand times.
But never does it criticize
my request for that tearful station.
I can alter events, massage dates,
manufacture good times.
My ‘74 pickup runs fine.
The hot date is even hotter for my presence.
It's a train that accedes to
my navigation and my scenery.
I steer. I shovel coal into its belly.
With all this hard work,
I deserve the truth.
And, if not that, the lies.
The Road Out
The house is a highway,
silent but for the one car,
hands on the wheel,
foot on the accelerator,
roaring out of boredom or solitude -
you imagine the speed beyond the speed,
cutting through dimensions,
an intangible and problematic echo
of your journey -
you let go your fear
like a child in a field
celebrating the electric storm above
or deep in dark woods,
as one with all things gathering -
past anything tangible,
each mile is cracked open like a shell,
dumping everything solid,
all that could slow you
ripping open the future
like loafs of fresh bread -
shouting your own name
that number on the speedometer,
breathing gas fumes to live by,
forgetting where you come from
and the long road back.
John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in Slant, Southern California
Review and Natural Bridge with work upcoming in the Kerf, Leading Edge and Louisiana Literature.