Sheila Murphy

three poems by sheila murphy

from “October Sequence”


A penchant for irreparable kindness flows
From his incessant listening looking
clear eyed as the brain and speech
Aligned with childhood that we knew together
Innocence intended cloak of night dismissed
As tender morning reasoned into
How we think almost by accident
Within the light of always young beings
Blossoming beneath reliable as gentle
Plain wide soul path may it press ahead
Become contagious as the blessing of a streetlamp
Revealing snow Plock as our history
The winter ice as plaintext minnowing
Alongside shared experience the tendrils
Coming clean amid uncoded color splayed
We treasure seconds of life force
Arranged and pretty with the earned contentment
Of new integers infallibly connected


Perhaps the stratosphere perhaps
The haptic waltz the body
Chemistry under enduring
Eminence the cost the caustic
Bleach the symmetry the shrill
Pall cast on variegated tunnel
Space today the tourist
Lost in theory turned
Or chiseled of domain named
Into clinical imagination fore
Grounded in copper shirts and
Sequined lark surface the bitumen
Of curvature turned forward
Permanent or accidental
Gloss that casts nutrition on the skin
Supposing virtue leans on forecast
Toned down breath and breastbone
That closed clay pot if you’re still
Listening signal by saying “Try”


There’s peace and then
There’s piecemeal primogeniture there’s
Fuel within the skull the physical
Fontanel electrical bridge
Approaching logic in the first degree
The faculty of drama
Protégé or torque or vatic
Points of stray the residue of
Stain point and of light apart
From dry nets and orchestration
Last dimensions of repeal
Playthings oncoming as the traffic
Smalls its way forth
Where a numbered chain goes by
To kick up cactus dust where flowers
Capsize close parades of ego
Chanted past opposing thrust

SHEILA MURPHY is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. (Green Integer Press, 2003). Her most recent book is Golden Milk (Luna Bisonte Prods, 2020). Reporting Live from You Know Where won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition (Meritage Press (U.S.A.) and xPress(ed) (Finland), 2018).  Also in 2018, Broken Sleep Books published As If To Tempt the Diatonic Marvel from the Ivory. 

© Maximus Magazine 2022

%d bloggers like this: