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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Plumes; What Lasts

By: Bridget Murphy


she jumped before

she lived to old age, before

sex, before an organsm, before

she could take an ultra sound 

photo home to display on the fridge,

before she felt

the exhilaration of growing

asparagus, of watching it fail, of trying

again next year, before spring 

migrations common merganser

edging the shore, her wind 

swept tufts, long Cyrano beak, 

before she knew anything

about Cyrano, his nose, his fear

of never being loved, before

this word panache, its fluctuation

between flamboyance

and recklessness, before

she learned to roast a chicken

the way her mother did,

whole lemon in the cavity,

garlic cloves tucked in the skin,

elastic and brown, hurt at the edges,

to hold someone’s skin, to watch 

death, really watch, 

with your fragile heart, tangled 

in the branches, blue 

heron on the lake.

What Lasts

Winter’s dark

circles back, hard to tell

this up from down. 

Texas dust turns 

every surface brown 

this far north. 

Seed casings fall

as they should, so

much loneliness. 

Some things get canceled. 

Water stays

to fill the cracks. Lake Harriet 

opens ashy, a day 

for taking shelter. 


scuttles out of her car

removes a fallen branch

from the road, a neighbor

walks her children

still in pajamas to the mail box,

they loop back unshoveled.

I remember

my father left. I watched him 

turn back. In front of the house,

he drove in circles 

waving out his window

like a clown. He wanted

me to laugh. I don’t 

remember who 

stopped waving first.  


Bridget Murphy received an MA in English with an emphasis on the teaching of writing from Georgetown University. She has taught English at North Hennepin Community College for the last 30 years. Bridget is a writer of poetry and non-fiction with a recent publication entitled “The Last Rites” in a collection of Irish Minnesota writers: The Harp and The Loon Anthology: Literary Bridges between Ireland and Minnesota.


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