Wind in my face, my eyes crest on a row of hills
above the upper reaches of the Hudson.
Gray sky thrusts down on snow-choked ridges.
Deer hoof, fox paw…the land at my feet is well-traveled.
Sun sets in my bones as it drops behind those same hills.
1 trudge back to the cabin as clouds break,
stars sparkle like chicken wire.
You’re in Florida, traipsing the beach
in a small Gulf tourist town, the same smooth
sands, same dunes, same sea-grass, as the
month you landed. My landscape changes
with the whims of weather. In November,
it was as skeletal here as a fairground’s ghost house.
Now it’s a home abandoned for the season,
heavy sheets of white on all the scenery’s furniture.
You suffered through two winters here.
You prefer the communal dolphin splash
to the lonely wolf howl.
But it’s quiet on this January night.
The canine choir is silent on all cruel subjects.
You hear wave lap sand, the sound of
all as it ever was. Sure, there’s nights,
it pounds a little more, waves run roughshod
over rocks. But there’s a mean your sea
is always pressured to revert to. Up here,
there is no mean.
You call every week or so. The bond is
closer than geography would have it.
Your voice gets stuck on the palm groves,
the comic pelicans, the shells you’re forever
picking up then dropping where you found them.
You can’t get the taste of salt out of your voice.
It’s your Eden. I can almost hear the tan.
This place you live expands you. Friends
are waiting on the street outside. Destinations,
in their thousands, hit the pause ’til you get there.
Snow pressing from all sides, my cabin walls
squeeze until I’m all there is, like these windows,
half-flake, half reflection.
Tomorrow, I’ll get out, maybe cross-country
ski a little. You’ll bounce out of bed,
crash that sleep barrier with your customary
dip in the ocean. I’ll gouge a trail behind me.
Whatever splash you make, you leave no scar.
Mine is a cold path un-turning, Yours, a wet embrace.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves on Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.