Tuesday, October 13, 2015

An Afternoon Walk by John Grey

He turns at the Revolution Coffee shop
and walks two blocks.
Twilight is conducive to a stroll.
Even old tenements are gilded.
And the brick freshens up.
Lawns sprout gleaming grass.

He steps around an oncoming skateboarder,
stops to smell roses protruding through a fence.
A young woman sits on a patio,
head lowered over a guitar her fingers gently strum.
She sings pure as the late afternoon air.
He lingers, listens.
The song is more wistful than sad.
It's a step up from the flowers.

Another woman approaches
pushing a stroller.
He has to sum her up in a moment -
will she be fearful if I
bend my head
into her baby's face
or insulted if I don't?
He settles on a modest version of the former.
A pretty singer and a comely mother -
two warning shots
over the bow of his bachelorhood.

But a plain suburban house
quickly changes the subject.
The older woman in the kitchen window
lowers his bottom lip.
Her eyes shine
from the sun's flat angle
but more like a lighthouse beam
warning ships from the rocks.

And next door,
an old couple argue on their doorstep,
over something trivial he expects,
or even imaginary.

An afternoon walk is always good for the health,
good for the confirmation of what he always suspected.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature.

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