At Poe’s gravesite

by John Grey

At Poe’s gravesite

At Poe’s gravesite

It was the perfect pilgrimage.
No daylight trudge through
Baltimore backstreets.
This was a late night
orgy of terror.

I saw the stone through
a churchyard’s rusty iron fence,
as cold to the touch
as coffin lids:
E A. Poe, it read,
followed by
the dripping drool of years
more dead than lived.

The wind really did howl.
And lightning wreaked
a frightening electric vengeance
on the heavy sky.
Thunder shook the presbytery,
the webs that crawled across
its cold stone face.

For a time,
rain plunged down like knife thrusts.
But then it softened to a drizzle,
dripped down my cheeks like blood.


Paying respects

I’m in the cemetery at twilight,
standing by a gravestone,
paying my respects.

But the ground is uprooting
all around and beneath me.
One hand pokes through the soil,

followed by another.
Ten bony fingers
press down hard

on the surrounding earth
and suddenly a head emerges,
with eyes frozen

and cheeks a pale purple,
followed by a gangly body
in a tattered suit

with two large grime-encrusted
un-shod feet, and the creature
shakes itself free of loose dirt

like a wet puppy
then runs off into
the surrounding woods

toward the distant river,
cackling loudly,
I’m in the cemetery at twilight,

standing by a gravestone.
So now who do I pay
my respects to?

There’s no one here.

About the author

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Washington Square Review and Floyd County Moonshine. Latest books, Covert, Memory Outside The Head and Guest Of Myself are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and Open Ceilings.

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