By John Grey
You are waiting to cross.
You are on your way to some place that is safe,
where you can sit and read,
and not be bothered by anyone.
But can there ever be a true sanctuary?
That man could be concealed inside the traffic light,
or hidden in the cars heading west.
He may even have stuffed himself so completely
into your reputation
that your character comes off as mostly his.
And if he obscures himself in affection,
that’s even worse.
“Where’s that damn ‘Walk’ sign?”
you cry out inside.
It’s starting to rain.
You’ve no umbrella with you.
You remember that your only umbrella
is the one that belongs to him.
It only ever opens on his command.
A stranger passes by. He smiles.
So why does he have to look so much like your man.
In fact, he has a lot of look-a-likes.
Some seem kind, others threatening.
You drop your bag.
A man tramples on it.
Another picks it up for you.
And the light’s still red.
You love him.
What you don’t love are your doubts.
But you hate him also.
So what are you supposed to love then?
You just wish emotion wasn’t so two-faced.
And you were a little more profound in your thinking.
But you’ve always done what is expected of you.
Just as the rain does.
Love…it’s the ecstasy of illness.
Like a bruise that takes the shape of a heart.
The black eye that makes you see red.
And now here, at the crossing,
you’re confronted by another kind of redness.
About John Grey
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline, Chronogram and Clade Song.