Dear Dad

They were your instructions.
It was your axe.
You have to learn to feed your family, you said.
Neck on the block,
my blade was swift and unforgiving.

And now they’re coming for me.

I trailed behind you,
poisoning rats,
strangling rabbits,
smashing the backs of garter snakes.

And now they’re coming for me.

You taught me
that there’s much to learn
from the heart’s deep pit,
the executioner’s laughter.

Since those days,
blood has flown
from chests and eyes,
throats have constricted
in mid-scream,
bones have snapped
like twigs of ice.

And now they’re coming for me –

one at a time,
oblivious, unsuspecting.

John Grey


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex and Midwest Quarterly. 

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