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3 poems by
Rich Murphy
> bio

A Beach Day

The stones sing in the surf,
while on shore the sandpipers dash
before the foam. The pebbles round
their lips on each other’s hips,
moved to interpret consonants
as vowels and perhaps vice verse.

Thrown into feathers, the drier voices
with sharps and flats imitate nothing
you can put your hands on, harmonize,
each with its own wings merely.
With memory and future of rock,
the pipers read the inside of their
fragile skulls before the tide, before
their legs and tails are chipped away
to mute for a moment the chorus sure
to its senses on the beach.

Labors of Love

Neighborhood immortality,
parked in the groins of split-level
and duplex pubescence,
celebrates its own natal monuments.

Block parties and field trip
processions honor the cul-de-sacs
married to desperation and bill-fold:
A toast and traffic jam.

Poetry’s generations of playmates
splash in their office schedules
and build breaths by syncopating routines
and drawing from hats commuter faces,

promising changes to old trophies and births
to the parents of their own worlds.
The mothers of perpetual labors point out
to the literal copulations elbows and knees.


Words migrate the sky, insect or bird.
We choose them the way children stumble
into a wild nesting sanctuary or as when
a hunter preys in tall grass with a flea.

Each breath is an egg about to hatch
or a brink of extinction for one species
or another: Bluebird, beetle, aviary, the.
Once, I passed a hawk between my teeth.

It saw the world for what it is and ate
the field mouse in one swoop. From my
new vantage point, a polysyllabic sound sends
me into poetry’s mediation on fowl, sky.



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