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.