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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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MOVING DAY

 

In the dream our childhood home is barren—

save for a room of empty milk cartons,

our school pictures glued on to mimic missing children

who are gone regardless,

filtered

into other people like Russian dolls one inside the next.

Layered as the birthday cakes once made in the now

defunct kitchen.

 

Moving from room to room past boarded up windows,

a long stream of eyes and hands

cameling memories, triggers

in the dented walls and archways,

backs lined up against the doorframe measuring heights

long since surpassed,

a graveyard of pencil marks.

 

Without curtains or furniture mouths work

as grappling hooks, holding on

to stray fibers of pet hair and imaginary friends.

The raw piles of moments and once lively emotions lying tough as jerky

on the bare wood floor.

A rung-less ladder to the past

as feet cross the creaking threshold for the last time

and silently condemn the empty porch

soon to exist

solely in the real estate of the mind.

 

                                                                ―Rebecca Bernard

 

 



MUSEUM

 

            Early infancy is tusks and tigers

stuffed animals and miniatures showing progress

sketches and charcoals of the childhood home and beach side cottage

replicated details of hazy memory.

Present day draws the still life

what’s in the bedroom and kitchen

flower pots and whisks

the everyday and functional things under appreciated and essential.

Impressionist paintings are sobbing nights days tears shed

and forgotten alcohol lust and ambiguities.

The loss of virginity is post-coital cavemen thronging a fire made of red strands of cellophane.

Ancestors and lineage a scene in chiaroscuro

illuminating roots and darkness.

Hanging planes are dreams

            up-high impractical and slightly out of reach.

Life-like sculptures are friends and foes

while abstract busts are the people passed on busy streets

those who fill the world and remain unknown to our lives.

The small theaters scattered throughout the exhibits are fears and

worries— endlessly repeating and replaying.

What’s under construction is the present moment

although it’s easiest to see as the permanent collection rearranging itself.

For those who are lucky there will be people on listening tours

the loving ones inclined to pay attention and learn what

we look like inside.

Some of us are publicly owned. Open, free and willing to be known by passersby.

But others are private, expensive and often closed for long

long periods of time.

 

                                                                    ―Rebecca Bernard



[UNTITLED] 

 

Theirs was a starkly hued love.

The space between arms and elbows

breezeless gaps between two sets of skin.

Muscle and memory in the finger tracing the line of the eyebrow.

Longing like the wayward leaning of so many blades

of grass rippling under dappled light,

the air breathing chartreuse as one color bled

into the next like sweat

beads dripping forehead to forehead.

 

We lie on the driveway in the summer sun,

ant colonies and neon pink stripes of beach towel

zigzagging across the hot rock.

We remember particular moments.

single squares of color

palpable and effervescent as they conjure

the curve of a neck.

The way the sock folds against the ankle,

cotton and exposed skin.

There’s a chaos of crushed fuchsia petals

lying in a bleeding heap beside us

but if I don’t remember their colors

I’ll still remember you.

 

                           ―Rebecca Bernard



MEMORY BOXES

 

His memories filled the crawl space in his mind—

small boxes, neatly wrapped or duct taped shut.

Some were tightly lidded while other’s contents shot to the ceiling with

fury and foamed out misgivings. Loss leaking

and staining

cardboard homes.

 

One July he decided to tell her about the situation upstairs.

She laid on his couch watching his mouth sputter as he tried to

reconstruct the picture in his head.

Eyes closed

catalogued experiences in

pitch black tar.

“And what if once, just once, I opened every box at the same time?”

She raised her hands in the air and formed a square with outstretched

fingers akimbo-ed,

then pulled her hands apart opening and closing invisible boxes.

Moments and memories fluttered by,

foam wisps dissolving into the carpet.

“Please stop.”

She looked up and saw him—

six years old in a snow covered valley behind his parent’s house.

The sun blissful, melting the ground.

The ice turns to water

and rivulets

like blood through veins.

a perforation in the chest

unseen but felt.

 
                            ―Rebecca Bernard