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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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METEOR SHOWER


 

 

They stretch on the driveway

under pilled beach towels 

to ward off mosquitoes' buzz, bite.

With cement like sandpaper on her elbows,  

she rests between her kids, a buffer,

creating a string of five-pointed stars,  

homemade paper dolls,

Advent chains coming unhinged. 

As the moon moves among her neighbor's maples,

she pictures the host 

(pockmarked, variegated, textured)

lowered over a gaping chalice  

and then emerging, hovering

over golden patens, outstretched tongues. 

Palms upon her stomach,

she fingers the waistband of her cutoff jeans,  

closes her eyes to the mid-August sky,

imagines the energy, light  

generated below her fingertips,

cells proliferating like that old shampoo commercial-- 

and she tells two friends,

and they tell two friends,  

and so on, and so on, and so on,

creating a community of believers, buyers.  

She inhales vanilla, licorice,

as breezes pull at heliotrope, blue fortune, 

and push planes through the Big Dipper,

lights blinking like fireflies.  

She imagines their engines

droning like air conditioners.

The bickering continues,

so she tells of St. Lawrence's tears,  

promises that when they see that rip in the sky,

they'll know,  

just as, with her eyes shut,

she knows: the squeeze on her hand, 

the intake of breath,

the "Momma, there--,"  

the debate prompted

at the star's disappearance. 

Fireworks, snowballs.

No, snowflakes, lightning.  

Yes, she thinks. Both.

Fire, ice. Marriage, fidelity.


                               -CJ Giroux





File:AGOModra Leonids98.jpg

Leonid meteor shower in 1998 at Modra observatory,
by Juraj Tóth


FAMILY SECRET


 

The nuns assigned her to the kitchen

and nightly she’d visit the makeshift compost bin,

its three sides sinking into soil,

rusty pine needles.

The stubble of peeling shellac

hid a growing grey:

plank, air, slat, space, matter, not.

 

The fourth wall,

long since prey to the pile,

was buried under coffee grounds;

spiked scalps of strawberries;

grapes, still on the stem,

shriveling upon themselves;

a wayward Granny Smith,

freckled and mealy,

sinking with bleaching grass.

 

Spring mornings,

steam emanated above it,

and though rain deprived and sun depleted,

eggshells splintered, divided, in the silences,

while potato vines,

waxy and toxic,

tendrilled, blindly upward,

like the worms,

shining, undulating, bulging,

tunneling beneath them,

growing, out of sight.


                        -CJ Giroux