Sun’s unbroken,
heat and light are adamant,
my desiccated body
must stay rooted
in unconsecrated soil,
seek my soothing
in crimson dreams,
so useless to
pale white flesh
that rots atop
my skeletal remains.

But a dry season
is followed by nights of blood,
liquid sinks in dust,
regenerates, rejuvenates,
claret waterfalls
feed my veins
their unholy light,
and I am once again
the man I’ve been
these centuries.

But don’t get carried away,
I tell myself,
as there’ll come a time
when cruel history repeats itself,
maidens will stay home after dark,
folks will lock their doors and windows,
when fear of me
is my worst enemy,
and I shrink back into my coffin,
a pathetic shadow,
quarantined in some dark dungeon,
more dead than undead.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Plainsongs, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.