SCOTT MURPHY                      

If You Love Him Let Him Go

Dick Merlin was a good bird. He had
a sharp eye for the sparrows, and to watch him stoop
was as to watch a feathered rock,
something hurled from heaven toward a death.
I never knew how he read the message of his hunger,
if it drew up and huddled in his gut or if it felt
like the shock, the sense-memory of a striking foot.
How he tore at broken birds!
When he sulked in molt, I raked his mews.
"Falco columbarius," I would whisper,
thinking how your raptors like a little Latin,
but he only glared at me.
One day he snapped his jess,
climbed to the sun's far call and the shadow
of a mate. I have not seen him since.
Dick Merlin was a good bird.


On Resurrection Day, so Rumi said,
your body testifies against you.
The reawakened heart says, "I have fled
my cotton bandages, unloosed the blue
constrictions of the veins and molten, twist
with the dull red heat of furnaced glass."
The face resoftened, suffers to exist
and utters from the lips a wisp of gas.
The gas expands within a body's shape,
but simplified, and kneels to stroke the rags
and fragments of its spent cocoon. Agape
it tips its head back, breathes hard out and gags
as it consumes the heart again, the heat,
the light it saved, the light it goes to meet.




Scott Murphy is a forty-something writer of poems, computer programs, and heartbreakingly tedious instruction manuals. The poems appearing here arose out of the cacophony of the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.poems.The author is indebted to Jenniffer Lesh, Karla Rogers, Peter Ross, Elvira Selow, and Renay St. James, who manifested themselves as muses there.