Two Poems

by John Grey


The wolf knows 
how to compose a scene, 
a lope across the summit of the far hill, 
the full moon behind 
hosting his canine shadow. 

And he’s an expert in sounds, 
the long howl of hunger, 
short bursts of desire, 
and that low growl 
that gets under the wind’s skin, 
and blows incessantly my way. 

The wolf is not a threat 
and yet I fear him. 
For he’s not just a creature 
doing what it takes to survive, 
but a refugee from the storybooks 
I read as a child, 
with sharp teeth, fierce eyes, 
and the aura of sudden death. 

He’s from a time 
when I was terrified 
I would not make it through the night. 
And it’s night now. 
I crawl up in my bed. 
What others call sleep, 
I think of as survival.


Fire turns seas into desert, 
deserts to smoke, 
plates crumble, 
mountains flop, 
all creation undone 
in the heat of one hell of 
a moment,
cracking open the planet, 
so the flame within 
joins the rioting on the outside, 
no time, 
merely entries in a burning diary 
carved by the river to reveal 
all that’s warped, inverted, 
what might have been, 
now without shape or purpose, 
just one huge melt, 
no song to the earth 
that isn’t someone screaming.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review, and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple, and Connecticut River Review.