State of Leaving

By John Grey

He’d been threatening to leave

and yet, here he was,

at the hospital’s nursery window,

wondering which was his.


He had the plans all drawn up

but he couldn’t get by the woman

in her floral nightgown,

propped up on pillows,

gripping his hand

to forestall the pain.


He went from exit strategies

to hoping for a boy

to who cares what sex it is

as long as it’s healthy.


He cradled the baby,

while staring out the window.

He showed his pride around the town.

His frustration barely got a word in.


Husband and wife

still didn’t get along.

They rarely kissed.

If they had sex

it was only because

it was better

than not having sex.


The child grew.

He figured maybe I’ll wait

until he’s old enough to leave

and then I’ll be right behind him.


His wife died before that happened

and he missed her.

Then his son went off to college

and he missed him too.

He would have gone then

but he was already there.


John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in The Lyric, Vallum, and the science fiction anthology, The Kennedy Curse, with work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge, Southern California Review and Oyez Review.

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