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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Grand Canyon

 

 

 

I stand at the lip of my life

as I once stood at the rim

of the Grand Canyon. 

 

Battered beauty of erosion,

bands of descending color

forced by wind and water. 

 

From this distance, the fierce

author-river is a stream—

something I might admire

 

in a Japanese garden, purling

under an arched footbridge. 

Doing nothing is doing something,

 

you said when grief had broken.

I need a ropewalker’s view 

of this monument, a wire stringing

tense ether, the illusion that I

could go on forever, walking on air.

 

                                        -Angele Ellis

 

 

 


Feast of the Epiphany



 


With a shot silk sun yellow Indian scarf,

I draw my bedroom curtain for the cat.

The porch roof dazzles, a sheet of opal,

glinting fireblue and gold.

Chimneys like black chess rooks

push against the white horizon.

(so much depends

upon

a red bird

feeder

glazed with ice

beside the gray

wrens.)

In a stripe of brightness, the cat dozes,

the insides of his ears glowing like conch shells,

his crossed pink paws twitching for benediction.

  

                                                                -Angele Ellis

 

  

 

Greetings from West Virginia




 

When you were a toddler in Glendale,

fixing snowflakes with your dark myopic stare,

I was a wedding guest in St. Joseph's Cathedral,

watching bridesmaids sashay in tartan taffeta.

Each clutched one poinsettia, a poisonous taper.

The Wheeling groom had cut his hair, stopped

slipping spices from Kroger's into anarchic pockets,

gone to law school. He wasn’t the one snorting coke

at Pitt’s Barristers Ball, as a cheap band stuttered

its way through Muzak Devo—

Try to detect it.  It’s not too late. To whip it.  

 

When you were nine, past the age of reasoning

that the world was evil, I was taking hairpin turns

to Hillsboro, blessing Senator Byrd for paving,

cursing my weak stomach.  Below dense trees,

tin roofs glowed like drive-in movie screens.

My husband and I stayed at a farmhouse B & B

guarded by six pampered strays and a swirl of photographs

of the Rainbow Family, Hippie Renaissance Faire.

He insisted on hiking sunken railroad tracks to Denmar,

the old Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium, destined

to become another prison.  I admitted the fall foliage

wasglorious—flaming torches in the fearsome night. 

 

When you were twenty, you wrote: Any schmoozer

can light a candle.  We have left West Virginia behind.

But in dream states, my wayward son, the white lines

cross and blur.  Last summer on Roup Avenue,

we fired logs in a steel dish in your lost yard

with rag bag shirts, splintered twigs, crumpled poems.

Sounding our yawp above our half-tamed world,

we stamped out errant sparks in tough city grass,

watching as shadows changed our faces.

 

                                                  -Angele Ellis