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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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A whole decade full of sacrifice and blunder;
He was not even known to the other travelers
In those lost countries; Nobody knew anybody.
Inspired by the aesthetic of discomfort
He had traveled and grown old, laughing
Himself sick with secret, unknowable troubles,
The savage persecution of memory
Like a flash of lightning in the night.
He took his bread and his news and a little of the fear;
Having no secret yearning to be set free
He said in his own language: Death is upon us.
Overhead, it was an idyllic day.
But Chance is a fine thing; it will show error,
Reveal this infinite longing for happiness
Tattooed on the soul in bruises and scars.
Long tethered to the wild beast of himself,
Luck grew kind to him, pushed him on by the shoulders.
Surprised to find it’s possible to love amid lies and treason,
On the far shore of this unaccustomed country,
Under the sweet coolness of the trees he saw her:
That beauty which only blossoms for our dreams.
A lucky little local passing accident
Like a new wine whose fresh and strange flavor
You will never forget.
The careless poet, infrangible fool for love,
Nearly a success, and nearly at a nearly-happy ending.

                                                                  -A’Yara Stein 

Model Noir Photographed by David Petranker


I ought to be content, but when I wake today
I can hear the hound across the street,
trying to shed its collar of sadness, baying
all in rhythm, all in perfect declensions of emotion,
smooth as the rhetoric of love between old lovers.
Sometimes his sound comes in cycles, say,
a little bit of both: frenzy and rest.
Violence pours from the howl of rejection
as if destruction were displaced affection.
What is he really after? What he thinks we have?
Clothes that fall apart, food that does not satisfy?
For once, the baby’s cry of surprise at the new
day did not jolt me out of dream;
Instead, it was the sunlight shining clear
through my eyelids, bold and insincere.
Because I’ve awakened like this, oddly,
I believe I could love myself in quiet
and let the world go on. The need to say “we”
I don’t care for, nor understand. Nor do I understand
the need to be known to someone
and the restlessness that sometimes stops my sleep.
How can one explain the devotion to the second rate?
I indulge myself and stretch full length,
then jack-knife sideways to balance myself,
to cup the rill of fat deliquescent along the belly.
Sometimes, isn’t it lonely in the cradle of the body?
No one can tell you how to be alone,
and sometimes it’s hard to care about ordinary things,
like how the mail piles up for the ex-husband.
I’ve been like a fish, ignorant of the future,
the warnings balled on small golden hooks.
The hound’s gradual declensions stop.
The silence states and restates a sentiment
that kills. The basic problem is this:
appetite grows stronger on what starves it
and I have been starving on myself.
In truth, this morning is innocent, after all, like any other.
And, to my surprise, all my loneliness has vaporized
with these first tendrils of sunlight and my happiness
washes over me as I lift my son out of his crib and purr
There, there, baby-doll, Mamma’s here now. She’s here.

                                                                     -A’Yara Stein