Solo for Bed and Kitchen
—a poem by John Grey

It's not the quiet exactly.
And nor the prayers
that may as well be to God
as to any other living creature.
Nor the dreams that I know will come,
and populated like the bed is not.
It's the heartbeat, surely,
another's, beneath the sheets,
so close, it would inspire me
to hear my own.

It's not the mornings,
so democratic
they wake the whole neighborhood.
Nor the breakfasts,
cooked as simply as they can be
when they're just for one.
Nor the memories
that creep up on me
then just as slowly slip away.
It's flesh.
I can't see where flesh goes
when it leaves the chest, the arms,
the legs, behind,
There's nothing in this kitchen
that's remotely like a face.

Radio's on
but the disc jockey's not talking to me.
Sun is out
but purely as a bright golden illustration
of its own indifference.
Water's boiling. Coffee for one.
I'll feel its warmth inside me.
Now that's a warm that knows its place.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature.