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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Mary’s Devotion




Years from now when your good words
have fallen like the fisted knots
of fishing net dimpling the sea’s surface,


when you’ve let your fingers settle
as roots of love in cracked rock
and your eyes have refused hatred


even as you cry salt and blood,
then I will touch this time
and hold fast not to a crown of thorns


but to the crowning of your head
slick with thick black hair, your small cry
for milk and a mother’s strength. 

 

                                    -Ann Walters

 


 

 

The Girl Scouts Take a Nature Walk




Through tall grass and down by the pond
with hawks circling the next field over,
red leaves piled like carcasses


and a pretty softness to the ground.
They dig small holes with spades
to find a tangle of roots as exciting


as any treasure. One worm split into two,
a woman’s back vanishing
down the path like the years ahead.


                                        -Ann Walters 

 

 

 

Lightning Strike




Turquoise in the palm of a long-dead man
waits underground, under red red earth.


Blue-green stone held in white clutch of bone
like treasure or random chance,


like the rich effluvia of a monster-god’s cough
spit into the void to ward off pain and fear, not death.


Push back the fire and the light, an electric line
of life. The cry of an orphaned child.


Disrupted only by the thunder of earth-movers and a shovel’s
profane argument against the superstition of luck.




 

Combustible




He paints his fingernails black.
They remind her of chitinous shells.
She’s always waiting for them
to open wide on invisible hinges,
for gossamer wings to unfold
from each finger and lift him up
as if tiny angels were dragging him away.
She imagines their halos
would be brighter than the sun.
Everything with her is another shade of grey.
He knows she is drawn to shadow,

it’s a trick of his to mask the secret
beating of his heart, to pull on
a grim smile and a long leather overcoat,
to hide beneath the smell of gasoline
and cigarettes. His fingernails reek
of lighter fluid. She’s always waiting
for the final match to strike.

 

                           -Ann Walters