2 poems | Meeah Williams

The Month of Dead Sparrows
April is the month of dead sparrows
in my pillow case
in the vegetable crisper
stuffed in the mailbox
with the junk mail
I find them everywhere
I am in a movie starring dead sparrows
I am married to a dead sparrow
all my children are sparrows
dead in the nest
opening my mouth
a sparrow
lies dead on my tongue
thinking, all my thoughts
are dusty dead sparrows
on the corner of Broad & Monmouth
a small girl
with a basket of dead sparrows
wants to sell me a dead sparrow
what is it
with all these dead sparrows
a shopkeeper sweeps a pile
of dead sparrows
from the front of his shop
in the church there’s a sermon
on dead sparrows
an old woman fell asleep
with her mouth open in an armchair
in her very own parlor
& choked to death
on a dead sparrow
I heard of this in a café
where they were scooping dead sparrows
from the coffee urns
a cop was telling the story
as he shook out his coat sleeves
came three more dead sparrows
Christ we’re up to our ass
a stockbroker said
in dead sparrows
impossible you’d think to forget
the dead sparrows heaped eight inches deep
in the streets
the trucks going by pushing plows
through dead sparrows
the sight of the river
now a river of dead sparrows
but forget it we will
it’s forgotten already
except you wake up one day with a sadness
you can’t pin to a cause
& it never goes away
it’s the month of dead sparrows
the very first day

The Mud Parade
It was the last time I’d fall in love
a day raining blood and white feathers
as if I were standing under a god
plucking all the chickens in the world
a day of unintelligible omens
that had the feel of a day that never really happened
a day like an insect
climbing up a stalk
that all the bug spray in the world can’t kill.

I digress:

Already it feels as if I were living in a myth
of better days gone by
that if I stop talking long enough my tongue
will become a fist & strangle me
that with each passing day things
are worn a little thinner until at last
you can practically see right
through them of course that’s all bullshit
but then again
not entirely.

Everyone agreed the bride
bore me an unsettling likeness
down the aisle she came
much like Zeno’s arrow
hanging on the arm of a kilt-clad father
who clearly hated me
the entire scene was like that game
played with two hands:
here’s the church
& here’s the steeple
open the doors…
but in reverse, if that can be imagined.

In other words, I began to use
my hands differently,
to screw down lids on tiny coffins,
for instance,
in which I buried little pieces of myself
like toads
made sluggish by the cold.
I guess you could say I’ve become
a more practical person,
the sort of thing that has a handle.

Sometimes, like right this very moment,
I feel as if God pressed his indelible thumbprint
into the soft grey gum of my brain
with the intention, really,
of crushing me out of existence altogether
like a mite
but only managing to cripple me
it’s just a feeling
like genetics
destiny for no reason at all
like brown hair,
a tendency for certain kinds of cancer
or a knack for horseshoes.


Meeah Williams is a freelance writer, graphic artist, and pataphysician. Her recent short fiction and poetry appears or is forthcoming from The Milo Review, Innsmouth Magazine, Blank Media Collective, and Stone Highway among others. She is also the author of a sci- fi noir novel, Fake Girls, under the pseudonym Matthew Sloan. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, Hank. You can find herr blog, The Red Ignatz Society, at http://walkingeyeball.blogspot.com/

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.