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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Artist's Entrance


I’m not going in there. Not this time.


These roads glimmering with hot-set metal are not made for me. What elliptical quest could propel me from the comforts of this, the jesters’ wardrobe room? Here, my status is assured, the one who can color their motley, all emerald and amethyst and gold.


But Raven came to me, with his offhanded sidestep, and drew my attention to an unguarded entrance below the stadium. There’s no question. I’m going in.


I activate the muscles of disdain, below the outer corners of my mouth and eyes, and in my forehead. I know this is not a real fuel, but, as hot air powers a balloon, it works.


Artificially heated, I stride into foreign precincts on my stubby legs; I join hipsters and blowhards and lost children; I enter the fray.


Once there, the glancing blows and shocking paper cuts create their own energy and I emerge—later? earlier? who can tell—with a fizzy excitement that makes me beam at the waitresses in Denny’s.


After the high has worn off I recognize its particular effervescence as the fingerprint of hope. With a small bow to his totem I ask Raven, “Is it wise to drink the bubbly?” My pewter reading light brings out the deep-water blue in the tiny feathers around Raven’s eyes. I am breathing too hard and hope he does not notice. Raven stretches a brilliant hank of fleece with his beak and says “I don’t know. Hope’s not really my thing.”


                                                                                                                                                                —Isabel Brome Gaddis


 

Nautical Adventures


“You’re at sea,” the astrologer says.

I feel relieved that someone understands—

a boat, becalmed,

can’t do a thing ’til the wind comes up.

Only later do I remember my husband’s description

of sailing, alone, in the dark, in the rain,

and the difficulties of holding a course against irregular, surging waves

and the dangers of a shipping lane

crowded with barges and ships

approaching, silent, behind blinding sheets of rain

and I realize

he was “at sea” too.


                                                                                                                                                                 —Isabel Brome Gaddis