John Grey: “An Allegory”

An Allegory

is when you say
one thing
but mean something else

like when you’re
talking chickens
but it’s really about people–

your tale is of a wolf
who creeps into
a hen-house at night
and devours a half dozen
of the best layers–

only it’s no wolf
and you’re not actually
talking hen-house–

it could be about
some army
razing an enemy village

or a man
moving in on you
back when you
were too weak to defend–

you tell me
you fear wolves
and you feel
for chickens–

what you mean is
you’ve learned to fear and feel
in equal measure



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

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