The Old Neighborhood by John Grey

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

Some rooms are closed off
by gangs.
You can barely see your children
through the blood.

Days turn to acid,
the taste of gasoline,
another neighborhood fire.

There's this journey you go on,
the guide posts are
a door-front Baptist church,
a thrift shop,
forever opening soon,
an adult bookstore
with specials on S & M
and the small park
whose swings no longer
take your weight.

And a cross of course.
And a heart that
kicks like a mule sometimes.

Like a ghost,
you move through
the bodies of your boys.
You come out of there,
flimsy and red.

Everything frightens you,
especially your face.

Night falls down
clutching its side.
You put a blanket over it.
Sleep goes without saying.

Photo of John Grey

Photo of John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet and U.S. resident. He is recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.