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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Open Letter Regarding Limits to the Salutary Affects

of Upper-Midwestern Melancholy


The downtown Valentine’s Day ice sculptures

are precisely the size of gravestones, even

down to the frozen bases they’re placed on.

The guy in a Carhartt coat who’s finishing

a cold heart in front of the candy store

brandishes his power drill with a touch

deft enough that you’re sure he could fashion

all the atriums and ventricles of

a real heart, like the one that police

found last fall at a car wash in Paw Paw.

Probably it wasn’t human–a blogger

thought that a deer hunter must have washed it

out of the bloody bed of his pick-up.

There was an on-line debate about that,

as there is about everything these days,

such as culling deer from the cemetery.

I see them all the time when I walk there.

My favorite part of the graveyard is

the section carved back in among the trees,

where black granite gravestones have detailed,

high-tech etchings of white-tails and stock cars,

a pontoon airplane landing on a lake.

It’s next to the oldest plot where markers

have toppled over and rain has melted away

the dates in such a way that Ezekial’s

life seems to have ended before it began.

Frost said a poem must ride its own melting.

Lives and hearts, too, apparently, being

seasonal, hunted, targets for all these

cupids and arrows and chainsaws of desire.

Please, please, please, please visit.

                               -Marc Sheehan