Sheila E. Murphy


I have been in the motet business all my life.
Meandering unaccompanied through sacredness

Hello, LaVerne in heaven, following First Presbyterian
Church in Smithville, Texas. Hallowed be our shared contentment.

Maybe text is all the heralding we need.
Hark, spirit friend, explain in long talk how the givens bend.

I started off believing in the permanence of laughter.
Then I noticed you were snapping pictures of one person and another.

Since that time I have preferred ramadas that can hold me.
In the sunlight where our hearts live.

In the swollen landscape where our mothers dried and left
For paradise where singing was not outlawed.

I think our flaws have been indifferent to the random accusations
Less substantial than broth.

Broth means to me the Pisces rising in my heart

Soft like moth.
Taken by mouth.

A manger without sacrifice.
The light is right to lie down in.

Thin across a shallow pool
More sweet than that in thought.

I silhouette my cherished prey becoming
What I already am in you a tall start.

Up the brick line go the flimsy quaffed excuses
For repair that constitute a sadness in my longing.

Many days I am alone with you and listen for the rain dots
All across the shelving that roofs over our twin headlines.

I have learned to leave the contents of caboose where they are stored
And handle precious gems while looking in your eyelight speaking back.

I don’t often write on purpose I just write

A skein of lariats defames heraldic acquisition
Just right for a glut of storage sheds
Where history will not find them
Or their innards
Or the mind beneath them.

As You Were

“My modular home is your modular home,” said he
With tongue in checkered
Pastiche yielding triple
Flutings ribald as blond
Bomb b(l)ast versus nocturne

Qualitative braggadocio mentions
Center selfhood
Where it hurts most
In a moving car
Far flung from captions overflown

The remedy proposed is merely welding
Sadness to the dome (“surely goodness”)
Imparting patterned walking
Patterned speech
And patter by itself

Hell’s briefings linger where we lurk
Awhile impeaching history for all its
Franking privilege unaccounted for
While unaccountably indifferent
To generally accepted practices

Remove vermouth from home base
While you’re at it, and revoke
The privileges afforded an untimely
Youth displaying comfort via back brace
In the dim moonlight of inner space

The Store E Marilee

Marilee wore a horseshoe on her hat. It was a yellow hat with corpulence she had branded on the brim. Her mother told her luck obeyed the hand that fed the lamb. A lambent afternoon arrayed her pretty heart. Our Marilee liked finger sandwiches to share while art came of the Fond du Lac routine she took on as a way of honoring her father-mother-moth wing repertoire. That came of French relations who had scampered down from Canada. Her aunts had answers. Marilee remained their pride and joy, while learning to like, too, the peanut butter jelly glue on whole wheat to conform to Auntie Sue’s oppressive courtesies. Impending present tense with Sue meant chastity that meant, too, overeating. Marilee found fortune where she looked. The lake without a single scar meant halo from the moon and a canoe ride toward the pine yard. Marilee imagined clipper light amid the luxury of silence, gift of a small will certain as the candle in her window sill.

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