Skip to main content

Grey Sparrow Journal and Press, as of January 31, 2018 will move to

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
Contact Us


                     GREGORY PARDLO

Chalk Dust on the Air




Our hero explains what lines behave as waves

also behave as particles depending upon the presence

of observers, a market of admirers, etc. Think of sifted

sands Tibetan monks spend months to whisk in minutes:

their attack on nostalgia. Think of Milky Ways of water

damage on the bedroom ceiling. The Apollo module

on the dresser and the Ring Nebula is the blur where

Mom tried to clean expletives crayoned on the wall.

Whorls beyond, imagine a can of Krylon ship-shaped
with braided-rubber-band-propeller roped out to
the nosebleeds in the murk of heaven’s hood. The spray
can tags earth’s dewy rooftop with synesthetic stars,
foamy scars that welt the blue and melt like meringue
in the dusk, a residue of light in the periphery. Winged seeds
from silver maples at the feet of unshaven sheriffs
offering fists of baby’s breath. They smile with cigar stubs
plugging the breach. Renegade lines unleash the hounds,
shake the weight of undressed eyes. When some lines try
to pass for the color behind the color they came in, our hero
attempts no intervention. When he orders the lines disperse,
one sheriff’s bullhorn blast unsacks a rain of feathers

                                                                   -Gregory Pardlo

"Chalk Dust on the Air" from Digest. (c) 2015 by Gregory Pardlo. Reprinted with

permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

Digest is available for purchase at