Two Poems by John Grey
Photos of the Death Camps
The past is in black and white.
Black and white –
the colors of that we can’t forget.
And is that rain?
Or did the camera cry?
The Approach of War
There is war in the distance,
the kind of war
that always knows how to find people.
Prayer doesn’t work.
It’s like a flare
that pinpoints the location
of the next ones to die.
No point leaving the village.
Or answering the questions of children.
You’re hated to the core
by these people that don’t even know you.
And the ones you love,
they hate even more.
As a boy, you played in the river.
It still flows but more slowly,
reluctantly, as if there are bodies upstream,
dragging it down.
Now, as a man,
you sit on its banks,
dip bare toes in its waters,
calmly take shelter in plain sight,
while all around,
others let their panic speak for them.
You find fear wearying.
And far off things, their own affair.
So there is death in the distance
and that distance grows smaller.
It’s as small as life as it happens.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.