Poetry by John Grey: Cabin Fever and Eat Away

CABIN FEVER

He wakes up hung over

though he hasn’t been drinking –

unless winter is a hundred proof

because he’s already had more

than enough of the cold and snow.

 

Outside,

a car grinds gears on a road

once flat and smooth as a church pew,

but now slippery and sleeted,

spinning wheels like tops.

 

Day-old coffee is the first

of many weather reports.

As is the turgid country music

on the radio,

some cowboy pleading sorry

for something any guy would do

if given half the chance

 

He could really go

for some fried eggs and bacon

but he hasn’t been shopping

in a week or two

and who knows if the Chevy will start up

once he’s done scraping ice

off all its windows.

He’d sell his soul

just to have a little more

than what he needs to get by.

 

A shovel leans against the wall of the garage.

It stands guard over his procrastination.

He should go dig himself free.

His routine hasn’t been the same

since he resigned from it.

But ever since his wife left and the job fell through

and he fell and broke his collar bone and…

ever since is a time without end.

 

He watches flakes skid down the window pane.

A man, he agrees, needs something to live for.

January is not in the running.

 

EAT AWAY

I watch them eat peaches,

grasping the golden fruit in their hands

like an offering to themselves.

 

Some take large bites.

Others peck the skin away

with their teeth,

so their eyes can wallow

in the virgin flesh.

 

There are squeezers.

And pulp lickers.

And others who run the rind

against their cheeks,

surrender to the floating hairs.

 

One takes out a knife and fork,

slices the fruit evenly.

If she were my worker,

I’d fire her on the spot.

 

I prefer the dribblers,

the unabashed, unashamed,

lickers of the sweetened chin.

Let me see the lips smack,

eyes do their own sucking.

 

Eating peaches should be

like sex in the open,

orgasm splashing on the tongue.

 

There are some swallow asparagus,

Others feed on grapes.

They should just see themselves.

No one else will.

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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