Poetry Drawer: The Gift by John Grey

Must be my lucky day.
Look what I found on the sidewalk
in a small Midwestern town
at the turn of the 21st century.
It’s almost midnight.
The one street light
is swinging like a pendulum.
I saw it gleaming through the cracks.
I just had to kneel down and pick it up.

Well so what.
My find is not helping my car any.
It’s as dead as a pair of twos in a poker game.
And a mile back there on the road some place.
And I can’t afford to pay for a roof over my head.
But that’s my worry, not yours.

Have you guessed it yet?
Red roses in a white wine bottle?
Iron Maiden CD in a medicine cabinet?
Scheherazade on a shingle?
Shakespeare, vestal virgins or leopards?
Take my advice and forget about it.

Is it a gleam, a glitter,
in an otherwise dead block of cement?
Does it remind me of someone?
Do I break into a little song?
And dance with my own shadow?

And now it’s starting to rain.
It dribbles down my chin.
The wind is brisk and repulsive.
The people are all indoors,
in bed, with the lights out.

So I’m under an awning,
with my coat wrapped around me,
head on a stoop.
body curled up like a snail’s.

Have you guessed it yet?
It’s nothing really.
But you knew that all along.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.

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