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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Plasmodium falciparum
ring-forms and
gametocytes in human blood courtesy
of Wikipedia. [Malaria]
 

Pathogen
 

 

This is how it passes:

flicker of proboscis,

puckered bump of dermis,

 

and then the fever,

      flush,

            delirium,

mumble of malaria

in the mouth, the blood

cells opening

like sad roses—

 

and then the slow speech of scent,

the body perfumed

with plasmodium, calling

mosquitoes to the nape

like a lullaby.

 

No, this is how it passes:

the strangers, doped

and cutting the land

with a parched blade

of map, pipes steaming

with dreams of tea leaves,

the ache of indigo, sown

and slipping gold into their pockets—

 

the quick unbuilding

of roots,

      wings,

            stones,

assembly of water

in canals,

red-painted barges,

algae purpling at the locks

where the river holds—

 

and then ebbless pools,

tepid, steeping.

The larvae sleep,

unfurl, the instars

writhe to the surface.

The parasites, blinking in

their good fortune.

  

                    -Cecelia Gallaraga

Rote


 

                        Our television man

grimaces in a blue pinstripe suit.

From the desk he says

there is death in Iraq, nothing

            new on the news.

 

The overripe avocado sprawls

            in the blue bowl

                        exhausted

from its transcontinental travel, rotten

because we are already sated.

 

Your shirt, crookedly buttoned,

            sulks in plaid, cuffs

                              unrolled like smoke

                        from a thin cigarette.

            Carcinogen detonates in your cells.

 

Cadmium paint on the canvas

leaned against the wall

            gleams a hot lava red,

                        like a car

lit and burning.

 

                              Framed

            in gold, the painting

depicts two crimson tulips, one

                              wilted rusty

                        under morning sun.


                              -Cecelia Gallaraga