John Grey: Empathy Guy


From what I hear,
there’s this long, long epic of a tale
and my particular story
is told in one particular paragraph
out of a trillion trillions of the things.

And, within the paragraph,
my life doesn’t go beyond one measly sentence,
and, in the sentence itself,
it hardly merits a word.
or even a letter for that matter.

I think of myself
as being on the curve of an S
and in the shadow of the preceding apostrophe.

I’m part of the possessive case.

For what I possess,
for what possesses me,
read on.


Winter solstice rain,
dark at the window,

a flake of ice
skims down the glass.

A boy’s reflection
has him partly outside

in the cold,
partly in the house,

under the light.
The boy himself

is similarly


Your pain is so much a part of me
it has me looking
in the mirror,
making sure these aren’t your eyes,
your mouth;
like a torn ligament almost,
your agony
urges me to bend down
and run my fingers across it,
feel the aberrant bulge;
or it’s a broken limb,
my arm stretched out on the table,
losing contact with everything
bar my tears;
your cries
echo in my heart, my liver,
squeeze my insides wretchedly;
I am your hurt,
your aching, your throb;
and I feel all the better for it –
I’m sorry you don’t.


— by John Grey

Copyright© 2023 by John Grey. All Rights Reserved.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Washington Square Review and Floyd County Moonshine. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and Open Ceilings.




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