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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Forcemeat

The neighborhood, if you are

lucky enough to call yours one,

yields to the eye chalk drawings


of numbered squares on sidewalks.

The wobbly outlines, abandoned by their

late-childhood creators, pacify the passerby.


It yields, if you are lucky enough

not to be at work at five-thirty

Monday afternoon during true spring,


futile uproars about a tee-ball game—

throw it to first, throw it to first

as the tiny person flops his giant


glove over the ball and pivots his head,

clueless whom to listen to, and maybe even

which shouting heads his parents are.


This being an enlightened neighborhood,

the brief sigh at his failure is followed

promptly by cheers for the efforts of all.


Living close enough to hear the noise

I assume is produced by the somewhat

well-off is like watching someone


in the front row from the bleachers

and hoping their hot dog disembarks

the bun and lands in spilt cola.


Out the back end, frankfurter,

I recommend, only to immediately

regret my envy and spite.


Wealthy am I now in the small

disconsolations of petty

observation. Fourteen years ago,


I watched Olympic figure skating

for the over-rotated toeloops

and falls. The smiles of the soon-


to-be-ruined skaters, in close-up,

as they awaited their awful scores,

I ignored, quick as I am with a neck-turn,


fast as I am to elsewhere. Now,

the daily discomfort of untelevised

errors is my coffer. The hot dog


I want secure in its bun for eating.

The tiny person secure in the outfield,

amazed as he chews the grass.


The clump of leaves on the bent twig,

not quite secure through autumn.

I want it all forced into my veins


like ground animal into casing.

My arms, like pig intestines stuffed

too hard with jowl for safe grilling.

                                    

                                     —Paul Beilstein