A Poem by John Lee
As I crawled through the tall
grass of grief I saw so many
interesting and disquieting things.
The priest asks us to bend our knees
and pray but doesn’t he mean crawl?
Crawling makes us indistinguishable
from nearly eight or ninety percent of life.
Ants crawled right by me yesterday
on their way to work.
Ants don’t take off Christmas Day
anymore; they used to when they were pagans.
Beetles crawled over me as I
wept my way through the tall grass of grief.
I heard one say “that is the first human
I’ve seen here in a long time.”
“Yeah,” said his partner, or wife, or son.
It is hard to tell who is whom in the beetle world.
“Most just go down as far as a bending
knee asking the new God to bring back whatever was lost.”
A Poem by John Lee
previously published in The Dragon’s Letters
Geese know the ancient path
their parents laid out for them
in the sky.
When horses are born
the first thing they do is walk,
even if their legs are like water.
Animals seem to know what to do
when it’s time.
I remember the first time
a woman said, “Let me hold you.”
This was a path I could not remember.
I turned and twisted my body like a
colt leaving the birth canal.
Finally I fell into the deep grass of her arms.
I lay on my left arm
till it went sound asleep.
Unlike the newborn, I didn’t care if I ever
stood on my own two feet again.
A POEM BY JOHN LEE
A baby’s pink and shy blue hydrangea
sit like colorful lions guarding
her steps that were made out of
The porch was, as we say here
in the South, wop-sided to
begin with, as much of life down
The whole house sat on these
same kind of stones just high
enough for old dogs and children
to crawl under to play and sleep.
The woman who lived there,
I am pretty sure her name was
an old Shakespearean one—Ophelia
I remember you now in your bonnet.
I remember your kindness to my
frail grandmother. Unlike hers, your
back was built by long hours
chopping and picking the cotton at ten
pennies for a pound.
I have no idea why you came
and visited me this morning
during my writing time but you
have been remembered and you are always
welcome to join me again.