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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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Story of My Life

Once upon a time is a Fairy tale.

Life can be too messy

for couplets or rhyme.

I came into this world

From the land of happily ever after

and was forced to gasp

with a spank to the ass.

Sometimes, you have to feel the pain

to get the rapture,

even Snow White

had her poison apple,

even the seven dwarves

had little shadows.


Once upon a time

I was a dreamy, driven child

full of speed.

In my father’s house,

I learned to read a drunk

by looking directly in

his beady bloodshot eyes.

I likened a beer can’s opening

to a shotguns clicking.

I’d hop on my pinto pony,

bareback with a hackamore,

and take off at a dead run.

Hooves pounding earth-

my mind pounding out pain-

into dust- that dissolved and faded

away into the desert sunset where I played.

I had a magic tire swing that hung

from a Joshua Tree.

I’d pump my thighs so hard ,

they’d burn, catch fire, and

fuel me through the air--

Then I’d rest…

on white cushioned clouds.

Seconds turned to years,

and eventually I fell off -

soft and lost





Once upon a time

I was a teenage runaway

in between getting kicked- out.

In my mother’s house,

in the land of anything goes,

I hung myself through a noose

made from a rope of self destruction.

In High school I watched erasers

melt into chalkboards, crashed cars

in slow motion, had my best dreams

in detention. I chain smoked rebellion

until I got sick, then  burned out slowly,

leaving a lingering haze that helped me hide

from some big bad demons.     

I’m a survivor of specifics.       

My little sisters weren’t so lucky.


Once upon a time

I became a nurse.

I took care of the dying,

while I was part-time living.

I was going to join the peace corps,

but got married instead.

I moved back North

gave birth to angels, and rocked them.

In my husband’s house

I lived a life of extremes.

I would swing too low,

and then too high--

from a thick gold wedding ring

that tightened around my neck.

I mistook oxygen for love-

Thought I had to please                                                                                                                                    

to breathe.


Now I live in my house            

where I take to living-

like a dog takes to digging.

I’m not out here looking for a medal,

I’m just sniffing out the sweetness of the dirt. 

In my house the children and I dance and laugh and scream,

skip through grocery stores and play catch with an invisible ball--                                                       

and I don’t need a swing, a ring or a rope

                                              -Kristin Laurel