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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Ella Fitzgerald Opens at the Apollo, 1934 

 

Carter wasn’t wowed by the girl

belting out a “Judy” that was off-key

and out of style.

She forgot words until

she met his eye:

 

they held a look like honey

on bread, the dream of a chance

to free the birdsong she’d heard

from dark oaks in empty parks—

 

her voice was a leaf

falling into a blue stream.

Carter smiled to see a butterfly

shake its wings, knowing he’d seen

beauty lick the Devil one more time.

 

—Gary Charles Wilkens