Prevailing Conditions

by John Grey

I went out with the millet and the corn.

I said to them that if metal was good enough
for my mother then it’s good enough for me.
I ate a dozen nails and washed them down with mercury.

They insisted on mispronouncing my name.
But they were pleasant enough.

The crops showed a liking for
thick-matted gold grasses.

We laughed loudly at a thin woman
stuck in a sidewalk crack.

There are things they said that I can’t repeat.
In truth, they were like strangers from another age.

We watched together
as the city drowned in floods and mud and blood.

Visions were fine enough
but it was loneliness, in fact,
that they really wanted from me.

I hummed one song, unfocused, thin as a flower stalk,
perfect for this particular paranoiac circle.

A river told us straight up
that it’s just one road blending into the next.

I laid my head on the meadow
and they looked down on me,
cursed my inertia,
said they were leaving.

JOHN GREY is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One, and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex, and Midwest Quarterly.

Photo: “Wheat Field” by Dennis Behm