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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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Thunder rolls, and I think about my seedlings,

Delicate roots moored to the soil,

Pickling cucumber, Thai and poblano peppers, cherry tomatoes.

Last week’s cucumbers were devoured by slugs,

So we put cheap beer in empty tuna cans in the garden

For round two.

There was beer leftover, and Dad took a swig and said,

Just as bad as I remember it.


Tonight it rains.

Tomorrow it will rain.

There is not much we can do,

Except listen to the drops batter the windows, wondering

How deep the newest lake will be.

The soil can only drink so much water. The rest rests

On the surface.

Slug traps will need to be reset, soil evened and turned over,

Stakes for the tomatoes repositioned, rotted leaves composted.


Sometimes you have to start over, Dad says

Sometimes it’s just out of your control.

And the way he says it makes me think of Uncle Steve,

Who would call after a Red Sox loss and say,

We just didn’t have it tonight, there’s always next year,

Who was thrown off his motorcycle in June, across the highway median,

To another place.


When it finally stops raining

We will stand on the edge of the plot, arms folded across our chests,

Looking over the muddy lake. Then we will work

On our knees, hands dirty and cold,

Because that’s what we can do.


We will stand by the lake and look up at the sky,

Peer into the distance,

Trying to see beyond the thinning clouds,

Trying to predict when the sun will appear.


For now we are inside,

Listening to the rain

Wash away what was starting to grow,

Wishing we could make it stop.

                                  -Jon Simmons