My Lack of Reach

That last night,
there was nothing about me
able to inspire.
She was asleep,
unknowing how much I was against war
and for the environment.
Any moment,
I was expecting the big switch
to be pushed to the down position.

She was dying.
a great fishbowl
for her to float inside.
No more slicing tomatoes,
no more sprinkling spices.
No more trusting of brutes
and scoffing at angels.
I offered up the arm broken in childhood
but she did not take it.

My sister prayed.
She wanted this woman in heaven,
I was of the belief
that death could take you anywhere,
that much of the promise of the skies
is just puffy, near-weightless clouds.
She never expressed an opinion one way or the other.
And now it’s too late.
The strength that held the handle of the kettle
barely lingers in the head, the tongue.
If she knows anything,
it’s that she’s dead already.

The doctor comes by,
admires the crocuses, the roses.
He’s fresh out of cures for old age.
But he can smile.
At least, there’s a bulge in his face
above the chin
and I’ve seen tumors
and it’s not one.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Sally Deskins is an artist and writer focusing on perspectives of women including her own. She’s been published internationally and exhibited nationally and has curated several exhibitions and books.