local_library To the Bronzing Man

by John Grey

Published in Issue No. 226 ~ March, 2016

Lengthways on a towel,

letting some sun into my life

in its guise as a naked white chest,

I’m reading a book,

one page every ten minutes,

the rest of the time observing

the out-of shape, middle-aged man

dripping wet, red-faced,

struggling out of the sea

or his freckled wife

in wide-brimmed hat,

sitting on a rock,

inured to the lousy shape he’s in,

ignoring his slow, bent-back,

laborious walk up the sand toward her.


Three of us,

none as young as we were,

thinking the cure is

a tan or quick dip

or even indifference.

They pack up their stuff

and leave.

Maybe it’s back to the motel

and miserable sex.

Or dinner at an expensive restaurant,

wasting money on their lousy appetites.


Alone, I watch the ocean roll in,

unfathomably old but always new.

You don’t get that with people.

They’re born.

They die.

And, in between,

they bronze a little.

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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.