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  • John Grey

Into the Rockies

By John Grey

Due west, as we drive,

mountains, colored mostly from the red spectrum,

rise up in a line.

I feel a little like the captain

of a charging army.

The enemy won't shoot

until they see the whites of my eyes.

The land's been so flat until now

but, ahead of us,

the world no longer adheres to that lie.

My wife turns down the radio.

It's like she wants to be able to hear

what she's seeing.

Even in the back seat, boredom gives way to awe.

"Those are the Rockies," I proclaim.

So I'm the head of an expedition now.

Once again, my team fail to recognize their leader's genius.

Closer and closer, we come.

Higher and higher soar the mountains.

"Are you sure there's a way through?"

asks my wife.

I toss the road atlas into her lap.

"If Rand McNally says there's a road,

then there's a road."

Rand and McNally are correct but just.

Up into the high country, we go

on a narrow strip of pavement.

There's mountains on all sides.

My wife gets nervous at some

of the drops a few feet from our wheels.

The kids are on the lookout for grizzlies.

I raise my hand, toast thin air,

utter "So what do you think?""

like I'm showing people around the house I built.

"Look where you're driving!" shouts my wife.

"How come there's no bears," snarl the children.

I surround them with splendor -

but they'd rather be safe

or, if not, eaten.


Thunderstorm was off the charts,

now it’s off the coast.

Peace returns to the air

which is an invitation to

young girls to wear red blouses

and tight jeans

and giggle when two guys walk by.

The absence of anything resembling weather

allows a dog out of its house

with a master on a leash.

And Gale to unlatch the window

as a soaked summer’s day

can now lie back in the sun.

Joggers appear on the horizon

like Apaches in old westerns.

A car drives by

fluttering two American flags.

Gates wheeze open up and down the block.

And, to think, thunder and lightning

were having none of this.

When it was raining that hard,

there could be no life.

Now that it’s stopped.

even the ordinary

comes as a revelation.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

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