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, Rathalla Review and Open Ceilings.
My father drove the family jalopy
past fields of tall brown cane,
his eyes ahead, his voice mostly in tune
with the songs on the radio,
brow, cheeks, tattered with tropical sweat,
six years beyond the war,
three months before his death,
his face a journal that I scribble in years later,
a time that was all answers then
and returns as myriad questions now –
what was so special about that day?
why him behind the wheel
and me in the passenger seat?
why the smoke-choked mountains
in the distance and the cutters
in the field so close at hand?
Now, I go it alone, drive on though
machinery does the work
of yesterday’s brown-backed men,
but the sun is just as austere and searing,
in a car with air-conditioning, imagining I’m
the father, and the empty space beside me
is my son. “Sometimes, I like it when it’s
just the two of us,” I tell myself.