John Grey


Thanks for not calling.
You saved me from the crimes
of cocoa butter’s smell,
the indignity of beach-balls
bouncing off our backs.

I would have had to make up
a hundred excuses
for why volleyball and I
are so ill-matched
and witnessed the inevitable
scoop of ice-cream
toppling from its cone
to a medley of child’s tears.

And salt, in the hair,
in the skin, on the tongue,
is just not in my nature.

The car ride would have been forever,
the heat stilling –
your stories, fatuous, and always leading
with “I hate men…” like that Cole Porter song.

Really, it would have been a bout
rather than a get-together,
my skin burning from the sun, your tongue.
Your lips blistering
from the words they perpetrate.

Sure, there may have been a hug or two
and a stroll up to the rocks
to see the spray, the pelicans.

And the horizon at dusk –
glorious reds and yellows and orange –
can you just imagine it.
Obviously not or you would have called.

© John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Homestead Review, Cape Rock and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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