American Prayer for
Marshall, Arkansas

by Ryan Murphy

It is like my sock     on a dark night     caught just below
the ball     slipping moorings     off heel
loosing itself     and weaving out void
from void     the way my mind     teaches memory
as my pupils open     in a dark room
 
the way a ship     nosedives down     to hardscrabble
ocean floor     blooming     into sunflutter polyps
that feather the breeze     forgotten skeletons
groaning out from rusting metal     like these mountains
blossom, unfolding     trees from rock to sky     this is my confession
 
I’m rotten at origami
                                    no better at mountains
staring from door to clouds     breathing in the low places
in the chain of moments     breath stitched     from then to now
like the golden tunnel     of light down the highway     pulling apart
these strings     slipping loose     my foot sliding to the unthinking dark

Ryan Murphy is an MFA student at UNM, where he mostly drinks a lot of water and tries to stay out of the sun. His work has appeared in Beech Street Review, Torrid Literature, and Garbanzo, as well as a very talented pigeon delivering hand-rolled poems to upper story apartments.