Julie Murphy

I’m Not Any of the Things I Used to Be XXII
Fifty days since you died. I lie in bed, watch the rain fall.This morning unable to get up. Last night, unable to sleep.Every light burning as I wandered empty roomto empty room until dawn. I might lie here all day,the house you loved sheltering me. I might look overat the redwood grove or, next to the window,the dresser turned shrine. It bears the weightof your ashes, sealed in a black plastic box, drapedin the khatha you wore at our wedding,the white silk trailing down like a loose limb.And the bronze Kuan Yin, goddess of compassion,set beside your portrait, the one with your cheek tippedinto your open palm, your smile so at ease.You’re looking right at me, no bruisesmar your fine features. Three offering bowlsof water. The bay branches used to bless usat your memorial. The wristwatch you woreevery day, leather band creased around the third notch.Your reading glasses, whole. Their case, crushed in the accident. You probably slippedit in your shirt pocket before you left.Loose change, guitar picks, driver’s licenseall from the envelope the funeral director placedin my unsteady hands. Your wedding band, the wavesdelicately engraved in white gold, still so lovely. The seventhseven-day candle guttering in pale morning light.

Julie Murphy’s poems appear or are forthcoming in How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, Atlanta Review, Written Here: Community of Writers Poetry Review 2019, Massachusetts Review, CALYX Journal, Common Ground Review, The Louisville Review, Red Wheelbarrow, and The Alembic, among other journals. A licensed psychotherapist, Julie developed Embodied Writing™. She teaches poetry, as a volunteer, at Salinas Valley State Prison. Julie lives in Santa Cruz, California.