A Visit to an Aunt and Uncle on my Mother’s Side

By: John Grey

visitor

She raises her eyebrows
at my entrance
but doesn’t take her thumb
out of her mouth.

She’s adorned in a yellowed
crumbling wedding dress.
There’s something moving
in her ratty gray hair.

The air inside her house
is like a tropical greenhouse,
thick and steamy,
basted with the cloying smell
of orchards in bud.

And the light is soiled green
like it was filtered through
an abandoned aquarium tank.

Beside the ancient couch
on which she lolls,
a plant
with leaves like rancid meat
reaches out
to pat her rouged-up cheek.

Her dead husband sits beside her,
head on her shoulder.
His face, as always,
is a sluggish mask
that slowly peels away.

###

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Midwest Quarterly.

 

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