John Grey, Where Thoughts Feel at Home


The house
was old and rambling,
its original quaint self
added onto over the years,
and thus replete with
unexpected passages
that seemed to end
where they began,
staircases leading to
odd-shaped rooms
or other staircases.

If anything,
it was more reminiscent
of a human mind
than anything an architect dreamed up.
For it came to be
by chance, by circumstance,
not planning.
A stranger could get lost in it.
A thought would feel at home.


After the divorce was granted,
Ted had this strange feeling
that he wasn’t Ted any more.

The mirror did its best
to confirm he was the same
person as before
but his heart and head
were having none of it.

His body tried.
It still left a space for her
on the couch.
It occupied only one side of the bed.
And he had to force himself
to not set a second place for dinner.

Over time,
he managed to piece together
something of a life.
But was it Ted’s life?

Ted never went on long walks.
He didn’t smile at people he hardly knew.
And, as for fishing,
Ted had never shown any interest.

And yet someone
bought himself a fishing rod
at the sportsman’s store,
ran his fingers along the wood.
grabbed a length of line with two hands
and pulled in opposite directions,
examined every hook, every fly,
like a jeweler with a magnified eye.

The salesman assumed the man was Ted
because that was the name on the credit card.
But what would he know?
He’d never been married to Kathleen.


Unsung heroine.
That was Eileen.
And the story’s never really been told.

Maybe you can use it.

After the incident
with the red-stained Kotex
wrapped in white tissue
and tossed in the garbage

she then proceeded
to cook supper for her father
and four siblings.

Only fourteen at the time.

On the one hand, her body.
In the other hand,
a pan of boiling fat.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. He has work forthcoming from South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review, and Dunes Review. Read more of John here.

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