in the draped cemetery sun
i look for my family name but find
nothing. we are not from here, though we pretend


we have roots.  i am forever
introducing myself like carbon
copies of an unsigned agreement.


none of them promise to stay:
the static cling of freshly
tumbled laundry.


what if all it took was a new name?


remember:  the one who matched his thighs to my hips—
i pointed over his shoulder to the glassy high-rise
said with my whole throat
that one, let’s live there
so he pulled my hair back to kiss me
deep, before going home to her.


we bury that which we seek to keep.


the shadow of him around my arms.
i try to say the heart of the painting
is in the negative space:  i love him most
when he’s gone, simpler that way.


often i picture the home i would keep for him,
them, the scattered papers and orchids in direct sunlight,
one replacing the next as they die because i can’t read directions.


when will we rise again?


i want to believe my dignity resides six feet
beneath beaten earth, waiting for me

to understand that out of mind is not out of life.

                                                     Mary Jean Murphy