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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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August in Chicago


Odd-jobber, day-laborer on the sunrise shift,
you turned up beside me one morning
about six, and got down to it.

Urban early-birds, creatures of routine,
we kept reconvening at our familiar posts –
I in my living room rocker
with a sketchpad and pastels box,
you, a lemon slice of sky alighting
on a coneflower in my front yard.

We were two workers of the world
divided only by a window-pane.

How many Echinacea seeds were on that stalk?
You feasted for many days on just one
loaves-and-fishes breakfast basket,
secure on your perch above
a patch of black-eyed Susans
that reflected you like mirror-shards.

Now it is September, and my yellow crayon
has been reduced to a stub.
Did wind bring your flower down,
or did you polish off the final crumbs
of your picnic provisions?

Fare forward, journeyman finch.
Like the two-zuzim kid in the Passover tale,
you entered the picture by chance,
and found a place in it to last
until the colors of memory fade. 


                                                  

                                     —Barth Landor