Saturday, July 1, 2023





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 the 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 retch up 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.




I walk into a forbidden marsh,

to rest from the penalty of my dreams.

I place my head on a pile of wet debris

and wait to see who or what approaches.


If everything was in line with a harmonic tune,

with the uniting truth, then my hopes

would not cling like leaches to my thighs,

reducing me with malnourishment.

I could piece together a path to travel

out of this marsh, out of the gloom

and rotting mulch.


As it is, I am overdrawn,

my bucket is cracked

and my clothes outgrown.

The wind has always scooped me into

its scarcity and a solitary translation

without recognition.

No one sees me or needs me anymore.


The marsh is my devoured saving.

The stench of what is left fills my nostrils,

reminds me of my stagnation,

is the rising gaseous force

of my obvious doom.




ALLISON GRAYHURST is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Five times nominated for “Best of the Net,” she has over 1375 poems published in over 525 international journals. She has 25 published books of poetry and 6 chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay.


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