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

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Vellum fragile, tense and warm

Two baby rabbits flushed from their nest

Mouse-bodied, with translucent skin

The first I cupped into a glove

And almost couldn't breathe


So much life, contained

Pulsing and hot

Like the blood veined in its ears


Which, though not for owning, I wanted to own

Its immature eyes, its forehead's significant dome

And legs that were meant to flee, even from me

So I returned it to the pine-straw nest

To the huddled sibling rumps


While the second infant fell into a sewer

Into mud and garbage and piled debris

Beneath our dense suburban street


Hours later I snared it free

Hot and muddy and still in the trance

Of overlarge eyes and cowering stance

But cooled by satisfaction, clean in the knowledge

That rabbits should die in the hard-run hunt


Even those nursed in tame bed-roses

Too close to the storm sewer grate

And far from any beagles' noses


                                           -Rae Spencer



A Dove, for Beginnings


So today I heard this noise

The one a dove makes in flight

The pitched whiffle of fright


It is, apparently, wings

Sculpted feather beating aloud


Through the neighborhood air

Where all sound begins

With a turbulent leaving


How the dove's wing speaks

Cleaving whistled goodbyes

Into further meanings of flight


Nothing of lung or tongue

Where air is usually sung


I imagine feathers in my mouth

A vocal plumage of facts

A cacophony of acts


Perhaps in every throat, a dove

Yearning toward its mate

Building messy nests of vowel


In which to raise new phonics

To mean more than staying


More than variation's genes

That shaped wings to sing

The mourning dove's departure


In case I wasn't already jealous

Mutely aware of inertia

And fright, and mourning


And the cold silence of hands

With no sounds of their own


To clap against the land, to whiffle

In the wind, to fly away

In search of easier things to say

                 -Rae Spencer

Nursing, Baby Rabbits by L. Todd Spencer




What does the spider’s heart hold?

Its two-chambered conduit

Is too alien for blood

Or understanding

Or anything of empathy


And what might a lizard’s heart know

Of passion?

Its stilted, three-chambered muscle

Never knows warm from cold


The bluebird’s heart is too small for its song

And the whale’s heart deafened

By thunderous work


Horses' hearts have burst

Mid-race, mid-jump

Tricked into fatal fibrillation


Like patter-quick tempos

In mongoose chests

Dancing a fierce cobra dance


And what might that cobra’s heart know

Of fear?

One chamber striking

And coiling and striking again


What of the moth’s hungry heart?

Its restless flight-dream

Of fire?

Why does it struggle

In the web?


Like my own heart

Frantic in my chest

Snared in rib and cartilage

Coiling and striking

Counting my many virtues


And sins

As nothing more than tissue                           

And time

And the accidental rhythm of salt

                              -Rae Spencer