Two Poems by Devin Murphy

I think of you as a sock-footed girl dancing by
yourself across your hardwood bedroom
floor, imagining who you would love, your glum
father both annoyed and pleased by the
shaking of the light over his reading chair,
even then the smooth flute of your calf was
becoming a profound form of punishment
to me, your hair my hand out the window,
your voice opera, Carmen at Masada, Don
Giovani in the Warsaw salt mine cathedral,
holy sounds, sacred notes. It is a shame
that I sold myself as perhaps something close
to that ghost dancer—as you now know you
will need to shoulder me from the base of the
toilet to the bed as that is part of the deal with
me, part of the dance I know, the wobble waltz,
where I place my palm over your naval until our
child kicks and joins our out-of-sync Bolero.

This News Cycle
This new cycle came with Mawin,
the four-year-old Syrian boy wandering
the desert with only a picture of his mother
and a plastic bag of dry rice, trembling and
sucking on the hard grains, swallowing
one at a time—
then came the Mexican shark hunter blown
off course, lost at sea for eighteen months,
found drifting near a South Pacific atoll
where he told of a dead partner and a diet
of sea birds, fish, and hand-scooped turtle
meat, and how a grown man could now
rest a finger between the valley of his ribs—
U.N. Human Rights Tribunal releases
studies on violations in North Korea
with stories of imprisoned women giving
birth, and how the magic of other women
coming to help with steel bowls to bathe
the newborns was twisted by guards who
made the new mothers place their screaming
infants stomach down in the bowl and let
them drown—
In the seas off of Great Britain an abandoned
cruise ship with cannibal crazed rats is said to
be pushing its way to shore, and a frenzy builds
and the ship gets lots of play until it slips off radar—
when the Sochi Olympics start and news of
Russian officials poisoning stray dogs to thin
them out carries—
until the areal skiers untether from
the earth and spin through the fog and snow
and it is a gift to see people launched, stacked
image upon image, story upon story, until
night upon night spin past, and we can add
ourselves to the endless ways of how we disappear.

About the Poet
Devin Murphy’s recent work appears in The Chicago Tribune, Glimmer Train, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, and Shenandoah as well many other literary journals and anthologies. He holds an MFA from Colorado State University, a Creative Writing PhD from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Bradley University.