Allison Grayhurst





This vice I keep

is like a limb, blistered

and useless. I swallow

it down a bloody throat,

into a pocket of stubborn hurt. There,

it unmuzzles my scream

and shrouds the sun in tar.


Why do I harvest the fear, the desperation,

in dreams where the bonds of love

collapse and I convulse

in betrayal’s shock?

Why won’t it go when my lover is true,

and honest tenderness

is the substance of his heart?


This vice I drink like

a hallucinogenic, obscures a living vow.

It has a face like an abscess, reeks

like an earthworm’s underground home.

This vice comes cruel

as a hunter’s bullet, comes like vinegar

in the eyes, baptizing my nerves

in a thieving rage, until I am

overwrought, fractured, ambushed

by its primal illogical cry.



Copyright © 1998 by Allison Grayhurst





First published…

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