By Allison Grayhurst


I swayed and found fire
on my backside, in my insides,
quaking, cracking the edges and the surfaces,
melting the dream that sustained me.

Down the slide, there can be no laws but the law
of commitment to love, to making up for winter
by honouring the snow and days of hibernation.

Though I have been broken 
like a broken dolphin’s fin,
I find hope, in the piled-up books 
I plan to read, on the peninsula I leap onto, 
leap while I am sinking, leap 
from one ledge to another, leap 
for summer is ending and I refuse to go with it. 
I refuse to sway, joyless, no music.

I hope

Then they took what
was mine to keep
and I tossed like a broken-winged bird
trying to gain elevation.
I am in the land of bright and golden limbo
and I am listening.
Is it courage I need or a miracle
that will arrive like a true and lasting foundation?
I am hoping to pass through these
narrow corridors once and for all, 
significant, conquering, not forsaken.
I am hoping for a buffer zone, for a hand
to help and make my climb out that much easier.
I hope to say thank you,
all traces of decay are gone,
to build something beautiful 
not side-by-side an equally growing intolerable loss.
I hope to gather myself, seal all the holes,
see what it will feel like to lose
my rage, my despair, exiled 
no more.

Calling Again

My clothes are loose
my mind is out of the shadows,
stern in its unwavering demands.
God is my one protector
from disaster and from
unhealthy bonds.
I will keep my faith as each day
draws me close to the gaping maw
quaking darkness that I know will consume
my strength and my peace.
I will hold faith each step I get closer,
trust in my rescue, blind as I am, wobbly
and languishing. I will have faith and grow myself
a brightness that will flash and flood the
tangled thorns, blast through doubt and time
and impossibility. I will trust in my saviour, the
One who sent him, merge with him and play
the tambourine in joyful abandon.
I will find my feet lifted from this path 
until I see this path below
and then never again.

Grace fills the air like the scent of incense burning.
Grace is revealed as the only door 
out and into a good life.
I will keep faith, have my yoke lightened, 
fueled by a journey of less dread, more
alignment, sacred dependency.


What I need to see,
I can’t - the shape,
the vibration,
a mouth full of Amens.

What I need to happen
is the gates I’ve laboured 
in every way to lift, to at last 
be lifted, and there will 
the re-arranging of disorder, 
hopelessness vanquished,
along with the dissolving of cursed errands 
and their damaging and rippling influence.

What I long for is to be released 
but I cannot find a way, surrounded
by chaotic void, as I lie belly-up
capsized in a space of cruel
and perverted punishment.

What I dream
I can only envision, clear
as the scuff marks on a white floor,
clear as a male cardinal 
on a snow-covered branch.

What I dream
is to hail a hidden strength, 
to drive a wedge under 
these barred doors, lift,
just enough 
to fully
slip through.

Milk and Honey

The time has come
to say goodbye 
to sticky death, the thick 
latching-onto shadows
following you 
from the laundry room
to the dinner plate.

It is time to shape your future
on the other side of this impossible wall,
unite with a merciful tide,
join a breachable adventure.

Pollution rises in this captivity,
stiffens the air and brings transgressions.
If you want to leave, ask to leave
and you will be on the other side
of this raging torment.

The time has come,
your intentions are exact.
Release any malice,
release all unnecessary bonds.
Walk forward, the way is cleared.
It is time to receive.

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Four of her poems were nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2015/2018, and one eight-part story-poem was nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2017. She has over 1,300 poems published in more than 500 international journals and anthologies.

In 2018, her book Sight at Zero, was listed #34 on CBC’s “Your Ultimate Canadian Poetry List”.

In 2020, her work was translated into Chinese and published in “Rendition of International Poetry Quarterly” and in “Poetry Hall”.

Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then, she has published eighteen other books of poetry and five collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. Also, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group). More recently, her book Tadpoles Find the Sun was published by Cyberwit, August 2020. She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay;

One thought on “Choice and Other Poems

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