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The Living and The Dead

written by: John Grey


The lilies are born on their death-bed.
Come morning, these pretty blooms
will be all funeral.
I stare out my window at their cool breeze wake.
How they flutter.
How we'd all flutter
if we didn't know the truth.
I'm in a coffee shop
taking forever over the latest nectar
from the Kona Coast.
A lovely young woman nibbles on a muffin,
reads "The Great Gatsby."
I swear her lips move
reciting Daisy's lines.
I'm on the west coast for a week.
I'll never see her again.
That's a kind of death.
It can join shooting star
or glimpse of scarlet tanager
or grizzled face
in the attic window of the old house—
their brief is brevity.
Here then gone,
my life is this constant killer.
But some things stay around.
I have loved ones.
I've got possessions.
And a neighborhood, a town.
I may live for the transitory
but I live in the permanent.
By living, I keep so much alive.
The dead fade in and out,
are not my responsibility.

John Grey

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Qwerty, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.
John Grey

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