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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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MAGNOLIAS

 

August 2008, Interstate 55

 

It’s a long way down, this falling. 

First from Memphis, then south:

a rain-blurred bridge, a lone tree

in an Arkansas field, a wash. 

Four hours, five.  Drive on.

 

Today should have been my birthday,

I say, so buy me lunch.  Today

is the end of the world, I say,

so what’s your number?

 

Drive on.  By now you know the joke,

too: I have no idea where we’re going, but

we’re making great time.  I’d laugh

if I didn’t know where we will sleep tonight.

No magnolias, at least not yet. 

See the optimism?  The interstate bounces. 

Count it: Six hours, eight.

 

It’s like that song—what is love?  Try New

Orleans, Vieux Carré, flooded.  Try Jackson—

Chimneyville—or Biloxi, the billboards

slashed before Hurricane Gustav.  It’s a long way

down.  Try smiling.


                                          -Jeffrey Tucker

 

 

SUBURBAN LANDSCAPE WITH ROBINS

 

It was that time again.  The sandpipers blew and wheezed.

Somebody flushed the block’s fire hydrants,

still the creek ran brack and the tapwater was a kind of buff. 

Squint: you could catch the sun between bare pecan limbs.

 

But those robins, gorging in the rain-saturated field!

You thought them parrots, their breasts

rose-gold in the dimming sun

and so you observed them, dozens, eating,

then alighting in a teenage oak. 

 

Eventually they flew.  In hindsight, it wasn’t anything.

 

It was one thousand copper proof-sets

raining above my balcony, coins that would make Grandfather,

the obsessed collector, rise from his clay grave.

 

You say the robins covered branches and the tree seemed leafy.

 

You felt eddies left by legion wings—

they could have been bats, you say,

but thank goodness they weren’t

because it’s not as easy to tell your wife

Honey, let’s stroll among the bats.

 

Beneath the tree, you stood with your wife

by the small stone wall there were birds and the sun.


                                                  -Jeffrey Tucker.


 


DELICATE ARCH

 

Arches National Park, Utah

 

1.

I love how you nearly aren’t:

strong, secure, a monument to the ages.

 

2.

Maybe I’ll try vacancy for a while,

decorate with blacklight paint, till the garden

and leave it bare.  I will write poems so transparent

no one will know they’re reading

until their eyes water and they crave chocolate.

 

3.

Somewhere in the desert

an old arch, now dust,

blows through someone’s hair.


                           -Jeffrey Tucker