Rich Murphy

When I woke, I arrived at the oasis
from where the suns and moons passed
through me as though I were a sieve nestling
myself despondent among their number.

Thirst threatened me with my own bones
before I rolled my eyes into the color of sky
and the green of gods. The dream
adjusted itself until I was off my knees.

The first moments of birth became mine
after I saw myself in mud and weaned
my breasts from the dust. Finding an echo
in everything toward which I breathed,

I invited the baked pebbles to name me:
I helped to build a city and to reach out
to the night. The mid-day’s diet has offered
the courses of galaxies, begot the sherbet

that substitutes the questioner’s mirage. My feet
planted, my claws gripping life, I swallowed
the bait that makes muscle and digest
my riding the sand’s hump into my dune.

—First appeared in Midwest Poetry Review

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