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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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Woman Redecorating Kitchen, 1959



I didn’t want to start stripping away

routine, trash the kitchen with its rosary 

of predictable patterns. 

For years, I ran its colors

through fingertips of memory—

recorded the sunlight sparkling on stripes,

the diamonds dull as prayers.


Once I pried open an afternoon.

It stared up at me, a mannequin’s palm—

the past blurring to present then to

future. Tomorrow’s walls

wrapped themselves around me,

lulling me to serenity even as the plates

whispered revolution from their hiding spots,

demanded everything ordinary be broken.


It’s hard to rewind an image

once it’s unraveled—

call the teacup onto the counter,

set the timer to the beginning of fire.

So much easier for the touch of a minute

to set eternity in motion—

send the hours falling onto years

until forever does its domino bow.


Better to keep going. Beneath the layers

geometry yields to flowers.

The dead bloom roses and violets,

daisies and sunflowers, a field of poppies.

Their ghosts rise to greet the steamer’s hiss,

but at dusk they dissolve into air,

depart for parts unknown. 


I’m not sorry. I lean forward and press my hands

against what’s been exposed,

stare into the naked mirror of silence,

the blank page buried under pastel lullabies.

With the tip of my scraper,

I carve an unnamed star in plaster,

tattoo new constellations onto oblivion.


                                                 —Lori Lamothe