Skip to content



Elizabeth Emanuel, 12 Oct '12

In the gray city,
gray people with gray clothes and gray souls
shuffle along the gray streets to their gray houses,
where they’ll meet their gray families with gray arms;
the gray arrows shepherding everyone everywhere,
with no one else challenging their gray authority.

The gray diffuses, suffocating
the color. No one notices,
no one wants to notice, and
everyone shuts their gray eyes,
shutting out everything
but the gray signs.

These gray people, not the symbols, enslaved
themselves through their gray, silent submission,
to a bondage of grayness and routine.

Hushed voices are the norm,
accepting everything they receive.
The gray is everything –
eternity, Heaven, and Hell;
water, air, and land;
flora, fauna, and humanity.
Even God grows gray.

Everyone loses shape and form,
blending gradually into a set of
smaller units to one large mass
as the gray life softens their edges.

But one day,
a single girl pauses amidst
the gray mess of signs, the gray busy-ness,
her eyes a washed-out hue.

What exactly was she doing?
Going to learn more about
gray things other gray signs taught, but why?

Gray parents told her to, but
no one ever stopped themselves to explain.

Other gray people mutter to themselves
when she hesitates, bumping into her side
as they press along their gray paths.

What lay beyond the gray world she knew?
Would gray adults punish her
if she skipped out on her gray school for a gray day?

Would her gray face be missed
if she stepped from her gray routine?

The girl turns around,
a salmon facing
the opposing current
of a harsh river,
and for a moment,
her eyes glint

blue.

Comments · 2

Page 1 of 1

  • Metta H said...

    This reminds me of a place I just left. It's enough to make a person shiver. it is the type of place and people no one in their right mind would want to stick around. How did it make you feel writing about your gray place and its people; was it based on a place you knew in reality?

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Elizabeth Emanuel said...

    @Metta H: Sorry for the late reply, but thank you! Actually, I wrote this piece while visiting New York City... To be honest, I loved the city, but sometimes it just felt so...gray.

    • Posted 6 years ago