Kalyna Review

John Grey

IS THAT IT?                                                  


In my dream, it wasn't the train that took you

but a flood.

You weren't killed on the job

but in the house

with all of us present.

The river overflowed its banks.

It surrounded the house,

climbed higher and higher.


You shook us all awake,

carried the little ones,

nudged the rest of us

through the bathroom window,

up to the roof.

Our mother was the last to join us.

But you went back down again

into the swirling waters.

What were you trying to rescue?


Maybe you knew

you had already died horribly,

in a one man hand car

on a dark night,

slammed by a freight train,

and it was the truth

you were going after.

You couldn't save yourself.

It would have been a lie.


We waited in heavy rain

for rescue.

Mother gripped us all,

bowed her head over ours

as if that would keep us dry.


Rescue didn't arrive.

But then again,

our mother had been rescue all along.


We sold the car

because no one left alive could drive.

That's what! remember most -

that old vehicle in the front yard

and strangers coming to look at it.

A hundred bucks we got for the thing.

I still don't know whether that was a fair price

or if we were scammed.


But what's a fair price

for getting rid of something useless to you?

And what's the point of a dead man

living in a dream

just so he can die again?

And why a flood?


I ran the tap water before sleeping.

Is that it?

A photograph of all of us

sits on my bedroom dresser.

Is that it?

The truth doesn't believe in second chances.

The mind does.

But only until it doesn't.

Is that it?


About the author


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and the anthology, No Achilles with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag and Spoon River Poetry Review.