Poem: m/ryan murphy



I try many positions


one involves my right arm bent 90 degrees
frozen in action

rising up to knock through all reticence


two considers the way fingers resemble gnarled roots
how they bend into a knot

it’s beautiful

for a time it could be ugly
like all things in the lonely nights

relative tho to vantage point &
whether one’s past was a gentle touch
or rough hands against skin


three makes the back quake when arching
head down palms to floor and wanting
to be fucked

hard to see intimacy when it’s close behind
no hindsight & that’s okay
until the body asks what happened

to lover


four requires said ghost lover

fluidity is what the legs mean when I’m alone
tonight I cannot find you in the bar in the
bedroom the place where I store memory

a forsaken kind of synapsis that’s broken
but rebuilding like that gentle touch
not known until



means a full hand of extended line curled
inward until writing a history of contortion of
remnant of dead skin left after tactility


six is both hands stretched toward an empty sky

the day my mother is diagnosed with
cancer is a multiple & hands become
more than two when grief needs consoling

her back becomes a place of sorrow-gestures
meeting sorrow-feelings

her front becoming deadly


seven for the days I wake in a sweat with arms
behind my middle

I dream ways of dying &
I’m not unhappy
just off balance in the morning


eight is a pulled muscle caused
when falling from hands
clutching snatching missing

I hit the floor


nine revolves around the space I take
upon the kitchen linoleum

it’s cold feels good I’m wondering
if she dies will I continue


ten is tight stomach for the pain ahead
arms face me in embrace but I
slip out from under

a wet thing

sometimes overwatering my plants
brings droopy leaves browned edges


eleven resembles a figure
shaped of sad flora

sun dries heats &
still I am collapsing


m/ryan murphy lives in Brooklyn, NY via Mississippi. They were named a finalist for The Poetry Project’s 2018-19 Emerge–Surface–Be Fellowship & host a monthly reading series called Earshot. Some of their work exists in or is forthcoming from Entropy, The Felt, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Anomaly, Cosmonauts Avenue, & Bone Bouquet. The rest explores nonhuman rights, caesurae, queerness, and language's existence beyond the confines of the page. Virtually friend them @mryanmurphy.

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