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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Arson

 

 


How tempting it is

to flick the red head

of a wooden match

with a fingernail

 

and watch it catch. Quickdrop it

into a pile of leaves

where smoke swirls into the air

followed by yellow licks of flames

that shimmer and prance...

 

You feel the heat

on your face and admire the way

the fire claims twigs

and scurries like a squirrel

up the trunk of a tree,

sending birds in flight

and keeping the promise of change

you so desperately require.

    

                                -Ed Meek  

 

 

 

 

The Flying Dutchman

 

 

 

When the barometer drops you feel the pressure

on your frontal lobe.  Your forehead rolls forward

and your brow pulls you down like a yoke

 

while you drag the plow behindone foot

in front of the other.  And if it weren’t

so dry and dusty, you might be

 

under water, laboring like Hercules

for breath. You might be lost at sea

like the Flying Dutchman—

 

there was something you had to do

someone you had to find

a port in which to anchor

 

land to claim, seed to sow...

you forget what yet you push on

out of habit or necessity, mopping sweat,

 

swatting flies, grumpy and unsatisfied

meanwhile papers pile up on your desk;

the e-mail file is full; your muted cell phone

vibrates in your pocket...


                           -Ed Meek






The Crossing Guard

 

 

                    1

 

 

You can’t miss the crossing guard—

that luminescent lemon drop

at the corner each day.

He waits with the patience of Job

ready to perform his sacred duty.

 

With hands as old as vines twisted by time

he holds the divine red lollypop—

its simple command in four black letters.

 

When he raises his arm, bikes, cars and trucks

like well-trained soldiers

grind to a halt

as he ferries the children across

the dangerous divide.

 

                    2

 

He’ll be there at the river

to help us on board,

hold the ferry steady

when the wind picks up,

or the currents are strong.

the last words we’ll remember

as we embark

and watch the shore fade away

before we turn to face the wind

and whatever lies ahead.


                                   -Ed Meek