Cousin in Florida – John Grey

 You say it’s just a phony menace,
 these alligators on the banks of
 the backyard stream, slowly warming
 their somber blood in late afternoon sunshine
 We are as safe as if they were butterflies
 or deer or even children splashing
 in that slow curdle of water.
 There is enough fish in that muddy current
 to feed an entire planet of reptiles.
 There’s no risk of one slipping up
 to the house in the dead of night,
 dragging a sleeping body in its mouth
 down to a hollow in the banks
 for later feasting.
 On and on you rattle, as if to convince
 yourself as much as me.
 I listen to you
 while staring at these scaly beasts,
 horrified but fascinated
 as one unzips an eye,
 slowly stretches open its chain saw jaw.
 That mouth is too narrow
 to take all of me in
 but it sure is wide enough
 to chew on the flesh,
 spit out the bones,
 of that story of yours. 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Work upcoming in Hollins Critic, Redactions and I-70 Review.

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