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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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I don’t know what set you off but you started in about what a son owed his father what you were owed the whole way laying it out for me about how you saw triumphant Jesus through a window in the sky one night and knew to your bones from then on and so it was a regular revival in that ’69 Plymouth Fury for the couple of hours from Vegas to Victorville the car accelerating with the level of your passion until we stopped for gas and a bag of 25-cent cheeseburgers and maybe it was the girl at the McDonald’s counter but from there to L.A. you sang the praises of my mother the only woman you ever loved and the others who meant nothing lingering longest on Caroline who had a waist you could circle with your hands and was the only person you had told until now about how you lay down on the railroad tracks one night soon after I was born because it was all too much and how could anyone think you could raise a son when you were barely holding it together yourself and that was the night you said—pulling the Plymouth onto the beach crying until you couldn’t breathe rolling down the window to hear and smell the ocean the light beginning to come through the big rear window—you said that was the night heaven opened up above you awake or asleep on the tracks and God saying get up man what the hell are you doing don’t you know you have a son now don’t you know what that means don’t you know what you owe me?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              -C. Wade Bentley



    and as he was talking, skin

began to peel    away, leprous

as a     paperbark maple,

until     he     was entirely

    exfoliated,   only his voice

continuing        unaltered,

but issuing,     it      seemed,

from his mid-      section,

         the    large    pelvic

girdle       a sound      chamber

for  words    so        disembodied

and      out     of     context,    now,

how could we     not     focus

on the       exposed      organs

       and     laboring heart,

the      lungs     bellowing

without    ever finding         fire?

                         -C. Wade Bentley



On the porch in the late
     sun, it is warm enough
          to melt my thoughts.

I am sure I was close
     to a reconciliation between
          faith and reason, but now,

with synapses gone plastic,
     Spinoza and Augustine friable,
          moral code more Jerry Garcia

than Hammurabi, it occurs to me
     that Ms. Mesa, Arizona across
          the street, she of the red hair

extensions and powder blue
     gardening shorts, may have
          meant for me to see her lingering

bend over the chrysanthemums,
     and might wish to join me
          for a beer. You never know.


                            -C. Wade Bentley