After the Great War and the boom
back home men were big babies
or dead from the waist down.
(A long grave along the Western Front
mined ghosts for the factories within thighs.)
When the séance to resurrect bodies
was published and acted out by women,
the greed mechanism in a light bulb
switched stimulation for iron ore.
A Constance simulation had a Cliff
from which to stay away while reviving touch.
Girls with lanterns chipped away
at the coal in the deep minds.
(Conformity anesthetized survivors
who in turn continued digging.)
The game keeper kept chance in the closet
even on rainy days. Then cheek, cheek
among the pheasant days in the garden
incited sap to rise in a trunk
and spread oak into the sky, into presence.
Becoming promised a noble savage.




Rich Murphy’s credits include books, The Apple in the Monkey Tree (Codhill Press) and Voyeur (Gival Press); and chapbooks, Great Grandfather (Pudding House Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing), and Poems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox). Recent poetry may be found in Pennsylvania Review, Fjord Review, Poydras Review, War, Literature and Art, The Bijou Poetry Review, The View From Here Otoliths, Epiphany, Euphony, James Dickey Review, and Trespass. The poem is from the book-length manuscript “Minds of Europe.” Rich lives in Marblehead, MA.

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