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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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The Argument



A stray toboggan slips
from where we let it lie
alone and unattended,
ready for another ride.
It banks between the glacial rocks
beside the run that Grandpa made
for us to use on Sunday afternoons
and, tilted at an angle, slides downhill
past aspen, pine, and birch.
Planing out, it glides
onto a bay blanketed with snow.
It slows and stops,
slatted wood
surrounded by a mass of white,
the center of an argument.

Which cousin let it get away
and who will be the one to lug it back?
Mittened fingers point;
plumed words rise and vanish in the air;
the burden passes from the oldest
right past me (the second oldest),
past my cousin Joe, my brother Dan,
my cousin Steve, and other cousins,
landing at last on Dave,
a man of five.

"Never mind," Grandpa says,
"I'll go."
And so he does.
We watch him trudging down
and straining up the hill.
Silence falls.
Our cheeks burn red.
Plumes of breath,
wordless now,
stain the air.
Like them, we slip away.

  -Stanley Paul Anderson