Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sheila Murphy, Four Poems and One Image


Posses Out Back, image by Sheila Murphy


This is New to Me, and You are New to Me

In New York, it is snowing.
All the blinds in Phoenix, Arizona,
have been drawn.
I am inside my warm home
this January evening,
Saturday.

I look at screen on screen,
pictures of shovels
and the pristine snow.
I crawl into your bed.
I crawl into the bed where you are
with  me.
And the weather is not warm
or chill or tall.
The weather is a precipice
for falling in love
again, again.

Winter the lariat encloses me
and draws me back.
The shades are still,
with no sound on the evening street.
I hear keys tap.
I crawl in bed with you,
am warmed, and I am woven,
too, am wintering before the window.
You are as near to me as blood.
You are my heartbeat.
You are my slow descent into
a sacred sleep.

You are my heart inside the body.
Slowly being kind to how my soul is
sketched. My soul about your winter,
in a dream of sweet full winter.
Oh, my everlasting warm perfume,
that you may touch me there.
That you may foster sleep.
That I might know thee.


They Sat Me Down

And they explained a way to write
A letter of application.
It was the first time I heard someone say
“You do not wish to apply; you are applying.”
They turned my head, these two
Who reputedly had driven around town
Without a destination that night,
nowhere to hide from the 50/50 chance
of losing their one child,
a three pound eight ounce person
who knew enough to close her eyes
beneath the lamp of vitamin D
poised to save her life
and likely take her sight
unless she guessed a way
to close herself away from beaming
light against her face.
They told me to say “mutually beneficial,”
as though it were a formula for making
a magnetic way to be
both for the reader and myself.
“You only need one,” my father said
about the job.
That comforted,
relieved my fear
about acquiring so few bites
on my releasing leaves into the post
to feed myself
for three hundred some days
at a time.


Morning Lullaby

His eyes touch
Her eyes touch
His attention to
Her attention

The window
They agree upon
Returns the picture
Of the bird yard

Every morning
Evidence
Of song and
Sweet lawn

Sentences recited
Form a line
Of tune
To keep the time


Seattle, Arizona

Broth distinguishes inside
from constant clouds.
I practice coffee.
Wear dry quilt,
believing pages change
sunlight.
Witness protection surfaces
on sidewalks,
dripping storied
selves beneath
these literal umbrellas.



—Sheila Murphy


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