Two poems | by John Grey


Being in Providence

is a shock to her.

The city was never filed away

by any of her dreams.

It’s not Rome

though it does have seven hills.


And the living arrangements

are strange-

a third floor apartment

in a tenement

that’s close enough

to the tenement next door

to whisper in its ear.

She was thinking villa

and views of the Mediterranean.

Not the couple

who are always at each other’s throats.


She comes from the Mid-West,


The sameness got to her.

Now she’s found herself

a different kind of sameness.

At least, the guy who lives next door

is interesting.


She’s pursuing her art.

It, at least,

feels like it belongs.

And she’s found like-minded company

in the local bars and coffee-shops.

And the interesting guy

has asked her out.


She’s waitressing

to ward off the starving-artist syndrome.

And is pleased with her latest canvas.

Pleased enough, in fact,

to show to that interesting guy.

His reaction was

to call her an interesting woman.

It’s not Rome, not the Mediterranean,

but her dreams are in a good place.


She wanted you to know

that her father was a cop

and then she wanted that

to be her secret.

She was proud to be descended

from the one who gave good directions

and rescued the child from

the burning tenement.

But what about the cop

that helped beat up the suspect

in his cell.

Or who only thought the worst of people

and, every night, dragged those

terrible opinions home with him.

She wanted you to know

that she preferred her father be a surgeon

or a movie star,

though not a clerk,

not the guy who rides the truck

that picks up the trash

on Tuesday mornings.

She was prepared to admit,

he was a cop,

even gloat over it

the day they pinned the medal on his chest.

But then there was the weeks,

the months, of the internal investigation,

and the mutterings at the dinner table,

where his opinions of people

never rose above the level of shit.

She wanted you to know

that, yes, she was her father’s daughter,

just not the daughter

her father had in mind.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, the Hawaii Review and Visions International.  


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