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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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TWO POEMS


By Richard Fenwick



THE TRUTH ABOUT SLEEP'S CALCULUS

 

 

An hour ago the moon was framed

left of center in this window,

piercing the curtains to spill upon me

 

like a splash of milk, the flashlight

of the ancients, and I assume sleep

meant less to them than it does to me.

 

I know enough of Newton’s song

to see it as a body in motion, a curve

in momentum on its constant slope,

 

adrift in a space and bowed down

to gravity, minimal enough

that birds can break its strength.

 

But even as that light passes, pillow

to valance over the opposite sill,

I whisper Newton’s second verse:

 

the body at rest tends to stay at rest.

And as it yawns across this room

I’d like my last two motions to be

 

the applied force of eyelids falling

in a constant curve of sleep, while

my breath carries on with the moon.

 

                         






Bronze statue of Eros sleeping, 3rd century BC–early 1st century AD






REINVENTING THE BEER-CAN LAMP

 

 

There was nothing more beautiful

than the lamp you built

when we were boys, two cans

stacked and glued, wires shimmied

through them, how you sanded

the pinewood base, routed

each edge like fine furniture,

and burnt your letters, C and D,

on its underside. But best was when

we covered it with a pair of red

bandanas, and our boyhood room

became a submarine,

the rest of the world mere fishes.