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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Refraction



           

In April he brought fresh clams

from Southern waters. Steam

rose from a bucket. He said, “I want

to rise each morning and choose

this place,” as he sliced

muscle through a hinge. He placed

its soft meat on her belly,

vapors still rising like ghosts.

Her smile disguised the feel

of burning.


               In May, she lay again

in naked repose, nothing

like that first morning where the leg

slightly bent covering treasure

and breasts perfect in their imperfect

yielding to gravity, dappled in morning

sun. She watched his eyes,

and said, ‘never paint

a picture of what you desire.

the subject always wins.’


                                         A warning

uttered upon that meeting now

reached his ears and his eyes became

the translucence of sea glass.

“I don’t believe,” he said, “and I no longer

want to know.”


                     By June, the letter from him

leapt, still sealed, from a pile of unpaid bills.

She stood out of arm’s reach, but ready

to answer. Light now gathered in a beam

and though his face turned, pride

crystallized before her. His lips

drew so tight, new ridges furrowed

into flesh.


               The light of August refracted

into a prism at the door, where purple

flooded their home, painting its way

from floor to ceiling. The only sound

he heard was the torrent pressing

against a membrane of skin, the swell

and collapse of arteries.


                                     The backbeat

of his heart hid the sound of muscle

tearing. While her lips moved against

the current, unspoken reason between them

wrapped


               around her ankles like seaweed.


Free,


         finally, of illusion he floated

toward light and began the slow

excision from shell,

cutting from the inside out.


                                  -Allen Gray