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Creation and Criticism

ISSN: 2455-9687  

(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal

Devoted to English Language and Literature)

Vol. 07, Joint Issue 24 & 25: Jan-April 2022


Loss and Other Poems by Allison Grayhurst

Allison Grayhurst (b. 1966) is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Five times nominated for “Best of the Net,” she has over 1300 poems published in over 500 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. She can be contacted through her email:


1. Loss


There, the cement

is broken by a heavy fall,

ants make their way in,

dig tunnels, weeds sprout up

and birds land.


Beginnings are ugly, born out of death,

harsh endings and spoonfuls of stone and flame.

Even the perfect, soft, love-filled endings

are brutal in their permanence.


I drown in the shallow stream.

I make music in the desert.

I touch the worms of my thoughts,

wagging and whipping up the smooth level below.


Do you know how much I miss you -

the light in your dark special eyes,

the light that seeped into and saturated

wherever you went, and the natural love

pooling around your small body,

extending into the corners of this house,

upstairs, down basement stairs,

all the empty places?


2. Harvest


Cry out -

the light is golden,

simple, with no secrets,

no detours of conniving depths

to trap the soul in a maze made of concrete

where no seed can root or sprout.

What was promised was always

the light, needed only

to be believed to be true.


Mortal dreams

Mortal spinal cords

and hopes that press like

the edge of a sword against

your soft belly.

Mortal light that gets

turned off and on again

by a switch or a changing season

is not the light of blanketing glory,

is not mercy in the pit.


Take this point in the fault line,

stand on it as it splits the crust

and everything below.

Here the light grows

like words inked on your skin,

cutting into the meet of your organs

it is light like no brightness you have every known,

a golden penetrating, undiluted glow.


3. The Final Despair


Reaching the madness of failure

plugged like a mouth stuffed

with a sponge, unable to express

the agony experienced with a outward scream -

curved under pressure to turn in the direction back,

circular damnation. Gifts of grace,

pillaged and gone up in smoke.


A child’s every breath was my breath,

joy as yellow as the sun - years of happiness

that meant love was working, that the

mutilated and hanging seekers

had nothing up their sleeves to defeat such truth.

But now,


my heart is small, barely beating, goggles fill

with salt water, hair goes grey and loses its soft lustre.

My horse is burning,

racing the fields, tail on fire.

My hopes are maimed,

crushed by senselessness,

helplessness and the feeling

that O - there must be switch,

if I could just find it and lift and set

things aright. But my prayers

billow into the air, head for the abyss.


I doubt everything and bottom out

in that emptiness, moving mechanical,

tethered to a trusted routine,

happy only in the peace

of a morning’s solitude.


4. Sparrow


I see the spider dance, smoke

dancing on the edge of a scream.

I am that spider

dancing as I continue downstream.

Can I be a tree or a curvy vine?

Can I grow a cloud or just one

bulb flower?

Fated to be broken like all else

living on the Earth, soiled, striving, but always incomplete.

Can I trust enough to win back my soul?

Be immersed in the fog and still know the way?


My keeper, my mid-summer garden,

the bull shark is coming with the encroaching wave,

swimming will not be enough, not a floaty, not a raft

will stave off its violent power.

I will need something larger to fit on, something absolute

to cull this danger, an island on its own, a hand,

blessed and strong to raise me from the inevitable grave.


Your love is all I have ever known

when I know love. Pick me up with the rest of

the laundry you plan to clean - make light work of me,

set me down folded, refreshed,

ready to be worn. I am prepared to live

and I don’t want to die

like a rusted vent, my metal

slowly corroding, crumbling until I am left without

grace, usefulness or substance. I don’t want to walk

into the darkness again - the hollow of all hollows,

wailing with pain and rage and nakedness

in the burning coal fires.


I am your child. I am your sparrow, please

open the cage-latch, cup me as your own -

then let me go, and my freedom

will give you joy, will give you glory.


5. End of the Line


Consumed like a passion

that exceeds its limited energy,

like a sorrow when anger

gets a foothold.

My anger tightens, incapable

of finding culmination or the subsiding

soothing aftermath of shame or reason.

The ulcer builds, a void of senselessness

that consumes, creates

an acidic bile hole that leaks nutrients.


Around the circle, banishment from joy,

movement, the scattering of seeds.

Through the circle, a chance to develop,

foster trust in the poetic goodness presenting,

to rest my head, release the rage, the futile struggle

and devote my intelligence to examining this foreign peace.


Utterly the ladder is demolished.

I cannot climb without it

or travel the same path, going around.

I will not withstand being tethered again

to such a savage unrelenting foe,

wearing this false face

fated to merge with and shadow

my own.



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