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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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THE CULTURAL NARRATIVE OF CLOUDS

 

The sky is a girl abandoned naked by the river,

clouds swollen and purple

by light’s unthinkable angle.

Too young to spell moon

or her mother’s name.

Born ghosted. An offered fig

at the foot of the temple.

Think Mumbai in summer: barechested men,

bruised fruit in their hands.

Think how seeds ripen early

in the unlikeliest places.

Still there is love to be born

from unintended horizon

or shoveled dead into the waves,

weighed down to stars.

 

                -John Sibley Williams

TO NAME BUTTERFLY

 

Suffocated

in a bell jar,

 

dried into some

paper-thing

on a ledge

dusted by sun,

 

propped upon a fine

background,

poked at,

 

wings pinned back

to avoid death’s

flight

 

and interrogated

 

by genus, species,

the Latin behind

our current tongue,

 

caked in the dream

of understanding

what we already know to be true:

 

otherness

 

is the name for forgetting

how to turn our heads and ask.

 

             -John Sibley Williams