Sarah Murphy


Canto 31


I am a woman, grieving. I am a length
of coal. I seize with fever, I seethe.

What was hammered jasmine, coil
of cobalt and amber, is bone-filled,

rain-ravaged; what was golden, straw
and moss. I am a mass of asters, patched,

tattered. I am a rope of stone. The past
is a city burning. The past is a treeless

sweep of cold. What was shining is dun,
done. Mess of feathers on my doorstep,

once a bird, almost a bird. In the songless
rill of winter, I trembled, I wept. Then I

cast it back, into the wrack of matter,
the mangle of time. Which is to say:

in the blunt thumbed nub of silence,
I laid it by the cherry tree to die.