The Gray Sparrow, et al

The Gray Sparrow

A gray sparrow


Like a cloud

Always in motion


Always working

Working to get somewhere


She could never find

A gray sparrow

Who has been aging

The Cheap hollow wooden door

It opens

A lady staring through the window

Light blue stained glass

Startled, she turns around

Her hands shake as she gets up with her walker

I Never really knew her

Every few years

Saw her during holidays

Presents, clothes, pockets filled with chocolate

Tried the clothes on

Too big

Too small

Age five

Age seventeen

An aging mind

Forgetting its place in the world

Before it even had one

My parents would tell me

If you made her a crepe

She would give you business

If you swore to your life

She would give you hers

No questions asked


Came first, always

She cooked for a living

She did it for herself

She did it for my father

She Came to New York

In 1952 she ended up as a waitress

Two and a half years later. My father joined her.

Finally, years later, she opened a restaurant

Called Crepe Suzette

It was featured in the New York Times

My dad, already in college

Too late

My parents would laugh

About memories they had of her

Every morning she’d get my sister a Croissant

When we visited her in France

After she left the city because she thought it was “the busy life”

My sister knew her as a grandmother

Who cared deeply about my sister’s life

I knew her as a face, a shadow

As a picture on our windowsill

Those beady eyes that looked at me with disgrace

Her face would light up when my sister came in to the room

but it didn’t change when I came in

I was unseen

All she heard was


As I walked by

Took me off her light blue stained glass

I’d heard of her

Who she was

Her fun-loving self

Remorse, filled me up

I had met her

But in a way

I never really knew her

And like her life

It was too late.

The Gray sparrow




You start out with a smile

Scruffy hair

A knitted hat

Selling old records

And torn up books

Working for a little

A day

Never begged

Walking street by street

You get money

Because people see your kindness

See the hardships

Imprinted on your face

Walking street by street

You meet a person

Keen in the eyes

Sly in the mouth

“Instead of a quarter, lemme have a cigarette”

You tell him

“Things change overtime.”

He tells you

“Bullshit. That’s what they want you to think.”

He spits some tobacco on the floor and says

“They want you to believe in change

Focus all your fucking energy on change

So you forget you are dying.”

The taunting idea

Dancing on his lips

Wrath so strong

You have to give in

Walking street by street

I don’t see you anymore

The times I did

You leaned on a barren stone wall

You are just waiting for the next laugh

And the next time your wild eyes come back

Red shot eyes, bursting with laughter

Masking the sorrow


Walking street by street

They all left

So did you

But you are still leaning on the barren stone wall

Head hanging low

You can’t lift it anymore

Looking to the grimy sidewalk

As if things would change

You don’t sell stuff anymore

I see you walking

Begging, broken

Man a quarter doesn’t change you much, but a cigarette will.

You walked street by street.

Shattered Pieces

You were once so joyful

The funny sarcastic one

The one with the long gleaming black hair

Always happy to be yourself

You came back after a long break

You’ve changed

You’ve grown


Came back with a reflection you didn’t like

Shame flickered in you eyes

Every time you saw yourself

You were a girl

Sweet and shy


A pleasure

You don’t smile anymore

The times you do it’s just a way to hide

You seemed enlightened

But I see you now

Insecurities eating away at you

Turning into the person

You swore you’d never be

You are still around

But you are internally dying

A joyless flower

Eyes sagging

All I hear you say is

“It’s not a big deal”

But I see how it is hurting you

I see how it has changed you

Everybody has their problems

Locked up inside of them

The shattered glass inside them

That never says a word

But in some of us it cuts us

Showing the glass to the world

At that moment

All you can do is

Let it cut you up

Some of us it doesn’t matter

For some of us it cuts you up

It leaves you bare

I am hurt inside

Split inside

But I cannot do anything

When the shattered glass shows itself

No one can be saved

That broken part inside of us

Eats all of us away

It eats the ones who are bare

It eats the ones who cannot stand looking at the bare

Stand there and take in

All the chaos

When everything feels like

A train running to nothing

A train

Stopping at nothing

A train blowing away the bare

And internally crushing

The one who cannot stand looking at the bare

Aureole Ribes
Age 13, Grade 8
NYC Lab Middle School for Collaborative Studies
Gold Key

One Comment


    I enjoy reading your poetry on the gray sparrow. I knew her just a little but reading you, remember me her.
    Cédric Meignant far away cousin

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