Friday, December 18, 2015

Lana Grey- Three Poems

What the War Left

Before you can speak, I reach for your coat.
A pained sigh escapes your lips, and I bite
mine, trying hard not to hurt you. Sit. Rest.

I see the edges of scars peeking out from beneath
your collar. An inch to the left and I’d be widowed.

It’s over now, I tell myself. I tell you
the same when you wake, cold sweat clinging
to your trembling form, your eyes wide. It’s over now.

You glance over my shoulder,
eyes searching the darkness.  


His eyes are cold
and gray, glaring
out from the face
of a king—his
emotions locked
behind the line
his lips are pressed
into to stop
him snarling at
someone who’s stared
at her too long.
Her dress draws looks
from others, but
she chose it to
compliment his
eyes and because
she knows it’s his
favorite. She
feels him tense, arm
tightening round
her waist. She moves
closer and smiles.

The mask he wears
will melt when they’re
alone beside
the fire. The cold
they’re trained to show
will shatter then,
facades slipping
to favor the
warmth reserved for
home. They’re safe if
others think they’re
hollow, unhurt
by slander’s blows.
His politics
demand detached
demeanors, and
her flight from years
past haunts them still
even when she’s
returned, aware
her fears were wrong—
she’s good enough.

Nothing will break
us, she’ll say, as
she lies in his
embrace. And he’ll
believe, though still
reflex spurs him
to hold on tight.
Not again. He
knows she means it
each time it’s said,
but if by chance
he lost her once
again, he knows
he’d crack straight through.


The gun’s in the drawer in the bedside table.
She tries to forget it as she dons her nightgown,
leaving her champagne-colored dress with the tassels
hanging over the chair beside his suit jacket.

The money’s in a briefcase beneath a plank in the stairs.
She doesn’t ask where it came from or who had to die
to pay for the champagne-colored dress she wore when they
went dancing in a dark haze of cigarette smoke and jazz.

The sirens outside draw his eyes to the window, his lips from her cheek.
She frowns as he moves for the table, leaving the drawer open
and brushing past the champagne-colored dress as the bullet clicks
into the chamber and the law’s headlights break through the curtains.

Lana Grey was born and raised in Illinois, and she currently studies English/Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She intends to pursue an MFA and teach writing at the university level while continuing to write and publish her own poetry and prose.

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