PASTORAL Wild wind blowing the work you left half-completed, as for climate change – anywhere to be seen, to atone for the founding of the wash of the sea, the stamp of Darwin - blood clots swim like chop! chop! owls cook in Alaskan skies, curling smoke escapes Earth from epoch to epoch - faith in Armageddon floods the bayou, frenzied spiders on the skin chant get up, old man, despite the hard pressing on your heart, the toxic exhaust smell in your trembling farts – leaking penis, legs less mobile than the midday sun, moonstruck memories trail behind their mad mothers. sun brings you up to date on the plague, now merely the old man on the street corner of 7th and 7th – in a past a charted obligation, now, a cancer patient dons his American Gothic garb, trudges across unplowed fields, soil sings, soil sweats - more shouting, that showcase of human condition, sky closes its jaw on the steel confusion of cities, tears fall, spark the interest of the grass, Frankenstein is almost done making his monster – a brand of human species born to a feral bitch, standing here in the atheist line with the toadstool, the iguana and the hermit crab, lightning in the clouds – wake up old man, wave your white bandana, your tired hospital gown, your well-earned stigmata, welcome to the 21st century, where even the nipples are made of clay, where history bows beneath the onslaught. A JUNE WALK Trees flare, green abundance, white and pink and violet frosting. Birds nest in every fork. Time moves on but such a verdant struggle to make it stay. Welcome fullness, a return to immortality for lovers on a woodland walk. Wildflower, fingers, skittering rabbits, legs - the trick is to tell us apart. WE BOTH SAID "I LOVE YOU" It's a major event surely. It should be jack-hammered into marble by poets on a metaphor bender. What is civilization doing at the moment? Shouldn't they be involved? At the very least, it demands a parade and streamers, people hanging out of office buildings, schoolgirls lining the route. And where's the mayor? The governor? And who's the president anyhow? Fireworks have a reason for living. Marching bands are hot to trot. Shouldn't we pick and choose from the Hollywood A list for our hosts? This makes every other declaration of feelings look like outtakes from The Little Rascals. I'm expecting to be called up to the podium any moment now. Don't worry. We both can grip, hold up the statue, thank everything from soul to heart to head. I can just hear the critics. "Made me think of summer days, blue lakes, Schwinn bicycles and the pretty blonde girl in the hip-hugging jeans." I'm on stage. You're on stage. And what an audience… just the two of us. Why don’t we keep it to ourselves. YOUR IMPRESSION IN THE NIGHT SKY You’re beautiful. It’s written in the stars, in the stares. Men turn their heads when you walk by. Not just the usual wolves in hard hats and orange jackets, but the dignified, the older gents, stiff and proud-faced, who look as if they’ve just come from having their portraits painted. I’m with the stares of course but I also confer with the stars. Aldebaran shines brighter than anything else in the field of Hyades. I wonder if you feel responsible. MY APRIL April is on my side. Alpine asters bloom. Nuthatch slips down the oak trunk in a blush of sun. And is that a bee? Listen close. It’s a sound flower petals recognize. Grass creeps up my ankle. Narcissus glow yellow. Boy fishermen drop their lines. A fox slinks through the sumac. The landscape is a living almanac. It’s new and familiar. Last summer’s heart beats in the new year. No more ice. So the ground can be trusted. Raccoons forage. Sparrows move into the gutters. Promises are revelations. The lake glows horizon red. Milkweed reasserts itself. There’s still a shiver about. But shining is a warmth in itself. Just ask the primroses, the peach rose. The sun is like a loving parent, gripping my hand and leading me out the door. Where snow has long melted, animal secrets emerge. Life opens itself up to color. Like a hint of violet and drops of silver parachuting down. John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Red Weather. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Rathalla Review and Open Ceilings.