Skip to main content

Grey Sparrow Journal and Press, as of January 31, 2018 will move to

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
Contact Us




This is drought—slur

of days, days, days.

wanting like the hallowed

riverbed wants, like the blinded eye

wants, like the empty womb  

for moss to grow up and over,

and inside


to settle in the earth, for soil

beneath the stone to wear

grassless and blitzed

with night crawlers.

to be cool, stationary, filled.


The city names on maps are hooks for the soft lip.

Mine were pursed for the taking.


Then, this place: sunlight strained

through leaves of Japanese maples.

Houses like scrimshaw, carved

and ancient. The language

phonetically mangled, something

the dog drug home, and the dog is me.


Am I kudzu or land the kudzu took?

The land: reduced to the strange swellings

of acres of mummified trees.

The kudzu: burnt to root yet returning,

ravenous to cover, to take.



I dig shingles from the mud,

they cling like they belong,

slate embedded in the field behind

the place you still call home.


The workers and I pile them,

dump them in bags.

We can never restore

the order. I cannot believe

that this was the place you hung

your green sweaters, striped

t-shirts, or, on the busy days,

threw them on the floor,


a floor now covered

with the innards of ceiling,

the gauzy pinks of insulation

chalk and red of brick and gypsum lath.


Split trees, bedspreads

on the high boughs and backpacks on roofs

of the nearby houses—


A lesson in how things can get out of hand

how you can lose as you have

lost, or not lose, as I have never lost

anything I did not want to give.


                       -Renee Emerson



The flower on our windowsill

wears a halo it does not deserve;


it formed from nothing but dirt

and the sun formed around it.


What is the flower—

ivy marriage, jasmine luck,

all the jealousy of a yellow rose


I never understood this language

in the petals. I have mispronounced

these names. 


                          -Renee Emerson