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Poetry: As Young As I No Longer Feel by John Grey

AS YOUNG AS I NO LONGER FEEL      

by John Grey

I must have been young sometime.
Like when the temperature
was as bitter as a cancer victim’s prayer.
And I was a foot of snow deep 
in women trouble. 
Those were my early twenties.
Had to be.

For one thing, the wind
doesn’t whip these days
like it did back then.
As demoralizing, as cruel,
as Simon Legree’s lashes.
I was waiting for a bus.
If my heart weren’t so hurt,
it would have froze,

Then some homeless guy 
joined me at the stop.
He wasn’t going anywhere.
unless my presence was a destination.
I was in my early twenties,
eager to be kind,
gave him conversation
and a few quarters.

“What happened to you?”
I asked.
Despite the chill,
he rolled up his sleeve.
His arm was as scarred as a warrior’s
“Trying to kick the habit,” he said.
Made my woman trouble
seem like a pin prick
to his invidious syringe.

Must have been my youth.
Haven’t ridden a bus in years.
Haven’t spoken to a down-and-outer
in just as long a time.
I associate a fresh face
with public transport,
an optimism with finding 
an empty seat.


Even a sanguinity 
upset here and there 
by failing to say the right thing.
And bright eyes looking back
through light snow fall
at the guy who was so very much
worse off than me.
I said to myself,
“If only there was something
I could do.”
Must have been really young.
I don’t recognize that voice.

About the author

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in
Hawaii Pacific Review, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming
in Blueline, Willard and Maple and Clade Song.

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Created in 2014, Flashes is a privately owned literary website. We publish short stories, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. Our goal is to give talented writers a platform to showcase their creativity, with an emphasis on original voice, innovative style and challenging plots.

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