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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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At the Edge of the Lake




the jaundiced path of the moon

rinses his feet and leans

his shadow back to the house


silk crepe towing him by the ankles

to where he belongs 

resorbed in kitchen fluorescence


the hardback chairs the table

draped with faded lemon oil cloth

the orange dog beneath it sleeping


content with a relic bone

while his woman’s dough

sweats beneath a cloth all night


He does not turn there now

stoned by the gibbous stone

its poxy reflection


as if it really were old Luna

conjuring and vagrant

no mere circle in ellipse


He stands there and ignores

his numb dabbling toes

soaking up the light


This is the pallid smile he waits for

every month like a woman who knows

the sun will surely bake itself blind again


who lives with him and expects

his shadow at the door

some fine evening thinking to come in


                                                -Paul Nelson







Half Asleep with a Full Cup




he scuffles out on the frost-heaved porch

to pour seed into the feeder

thinking to speak

because that is what he does

Purple finches and blue jays

boreal chickadees and yellow grosbeaks

pick through yesterday’s leavings

on decayed snow


The garish explosion of wings

makes him swallow language

all his fault the racket

fracturing the crust of sleep

startling the seeds from the china cup

that flail out on the spattered ground

because he had to wake up


He thinks, of course, to speak again

to spread some word

because there is no one else around

“What else” he says “No more…”

The birds perch and watch


Made a mess of things hasn’t he

startled the universe  

Crayola flashes clattering up

to dicey quiet for a while


                      -Paul Nelson