Nancy Murphy / Writer

writings and performances by Nancy Murphy

Sometimes a Wild Saint


        After Tom Hiron, Sometimes a Wild God

Sometimes a wild saint will storm in while
            you’re at the stove
searing steaks,
            tapping smoked paprika
                        onto sweet potatoes. She’ll start

a fire in the blue room, open the best

Burgundy                    without asking,
crank up

the Stones. Sometimes a wild saint
is not exactly
            drunk, (but not undrunk)

maybe beyond

drunk like I was
in my twenties after work

in bars with married co-workers.
I’m not here to confess,            I’ll just say

I have seen how things can break

down, how anything can be
forgiven, how miracles are            not
that rare         really.

Sometimes a wild saint

is such a martyr, deadly
serious.           But I’m

not going to fall
into that deep

well of belief again, the longing
that follows, all that embarrassment
            when god doesn’t show up
                                    in time.

Sometimes a wild saint
will remind us that there will be summer

again, that I will be able to go underwater
            and feel cool on my entire head
                        and not even care
if my hair                      ever
            dries.


Gyroscope Review, Issue 21-3, Summer 2021


RETURN TO POETRY TITLES

Know My Tree

Know My Tree


A tree is a prayer without words, without reason, without apology. Yet
not without sound,        I hear

a low whirr when I am close to a willow,         I see the medicine of its
knowledge dance under dark

purple bark.      I trace the lines of its hands to the ends of the limbs I
want to climb,      watch

how leaves confetti in the breeze,        an explosion of spring greens and
saffron

yellows against an afternoon indigo sky.          I want
to       rest,        hang from my tail,

sleep and eat
like an animal.
I want to know
my animal. I want
to know my god.
I want to know
my       tree.

I need to be
washed in a rain
of forest, cleansed
of my faults,
my failings,
my falsities.
All the moments
I could have
done better.

We are all
standing under
some tree,
of life,           of death,
of transformation.
How thankless
I’ve been! I wish
to save a tree
to save myself
to save
the world.
I don’t know
where to start
so I will just
start with this
tree      under a black
sky       believing in the sun.


Telephone, April 2021


RETURN TO POETRY TITLES

Field of View

-after “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth

I am a stretched canvas. My mother’s
yearning background color. Dress dusty
 
pink the color of my first ballet slippers,
hair putting up a fight. Thin black belt around
 
my nickel of a waist, it takes me years
to become a body. Walking even longer.
 
The field is everything to me. The way sunlight
wakes up the colours, the way the hint
 
of a road slices space into before
and after, the way home keeps moving
 
away. Collapsing onto the grass,
oblivious to how it can stain you,
 
mark you as a child. When do we start
seeing the world as wider than we can
 
hold? I paint myself away from the edges
of the picture, on another coast, different
 
weather. I paint the story of my mother
and what she wanted. I remember when
 
she gazed on me, and when she gazed not
on me. I carry hollowness into the rain.


The Ekphrastic Review, July 2020


RETURN TO POETRY TITLES