Poet Allison Grayhurst’s Poems 


If you knew
the fierce immersion,
tarnishing your already
dilapidated innards
would you have sunk so close to death,
your heart racing, aching with excruciating
escalation, skipping beats?
Would you have preoccupied your mind
with other people’s good fortune, grow
bitter at your own failure to thrive,
and desired a dream that was never part
of your original vision?

You have one path and you must follow.
One that allows for no detours
or trips to sunny islands.
Faith is needed after that fall, before you land –
in the in-between time
when destruction feels inevitable, trust
there are arms to catch you, angels to guide you
gently to the ground, stand you upright
without permanent damage.
This faith is not a leap but happens
after you are pushed off the edge,
happens in the anticipation of disaster.

If you knew that was what was asked for
would you have let it wretch and slice
your essential organ like a pie?
Will you now, that you are recovering,
trust, as you are still falling, still facing
what seems like only-doom?
Will you relax into God’s gracious love,
awaken a new level of faith that beats afresh
in spite of the rigid rocky terrain
fast approaching below?


I Stand Up

I stand up, everything
falls down, the load and the balance
on a soft bed of nothingness to catch
and embrace in a cruel dream
of freedom.
I draw my breath in the rising wave,
knowing the calm waters are too lonely
for sustenance.
This has butchered my means of survival,
drowning my body in acid-mud.
This has rounded out the edges, so
like a hard ball, I am tumbling down
an incline that stretches out
to a cliff with fast momentum,
no chance of halting or even slowing down.
I found a piece of joy in day-to-day service
and must pay with blood flow, extreme heat and drought,
pay and never have a day without survival’s worrisome
stranglehold gnawing out my intestines, making holes
here, serious as death, serious
as an asteroid breaking the atmosphere,
thinning my faith and all I hold sacred,
tying it down on a large rock, trying me up
on a large rock, in slow decomposition.
waiting the buzzard’s peck and sting.



The splendid vision
was announced then
denounced and the whole
inspiring fire fizzled invisible.

For decades, possessed,
but still able to protect the ones I love.
Yesterday and months before, the possession
lost its rule, the blood rage coiled inside of me cooled
but this open space created has taken away
my fight with it, and every ounce of security.

Concentrating on this stand-by whiff of hope,
hope as the thing practiced and opposite to struggling,
though not enough to fill my lungs with faith, not enough
to inhale a good breath or breathe at ease
before sleep.

I don’t even know my name
anymore – my demons were never slain,
they just dissipated, taken by a ghostly victory
that I cannot claim as my own courage-doing
or as a song.

It is good that they are gone
but what they gave (food for survival)
is gone with them and I cannot see a way
forward, cannot see any secret that will feed this house
and stabilize it so I can live, clean the floor
and not wonder how long I can step here, step here
and hold the ones I love in safety.

The race is done though I never reached
the finish line. I was just plucked from the track
onto a sideroad without a knapsack or a spoon.
I can blow right through my fingers.
I can curl my toes but I cannot take a step,
not like this, deserted, helpless
at this bardo crossing.


This shelter is threadbare
like a low-battery flashlight,
barely making a dark corner visible.
I sang to find an easeful slumber.
I left my empty bin by the road,
begging for a refill.

Summer is behind me.
The grass is torn
from tiny claws and pecking.
I live below the breathing line
and there is no way to rise higher
or join a harmony to unfasten my chains.

Attempting flashing solutions in a frantic rush
trying for escape, but the land I stand on
is too hard to burrow under
and there are no trees to climb.

I wait for the door to open, knowing the door
is just a dream. That sickly feeling overflows
as each effort I make for freedom
deflates, fruitless, impotent.


Interchange – warm running

Open the stark and twisted plot,
then replenish it with a prize perfume,
everlasting, infiltrating with its veiled odour
as a mild but sublime soothing caress.

Dry up the stream that ran toxic
through the yard, dig the trench deeper
and build a river with a waterfall
pouring down, energized by power manifold.

Pull out the splinter that slipped close to bone,
for decades festering, bulging in a painful swell,
leave the wound to air and forget its throb.

Swim through the spectrum colours
that trapped you in their grip,
burst out of their array and be dazzled
on a hill, at a height triumphant, astounding.


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