Sunday Apr 14

Murchinson Ginger Murchison assisted Thomas Lux in founding POETRY at TECH, Georgia Tech's poetry program and reading series, where she now teaches. Twice a Pushcart nominee and a graduate of Warren Wilson's MFA Program for Writers, she has poems in Atlanta Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Horticulture, Terminus Magazine and Poetry Kanto as well as several anthologies. Her first chapbook, Out Here, was published by Jeanne Duval Editions in 2008. She is editor of The Cortland Review.

…and the cottonwoods
would lose their minds, let go
all their fluff-wrapped seeds—
our window open to the rattle of leaves
that would spin till every seed
was on the wind
straining for the shoreline silt
of the river in our back yard
where we’d watch them float,
delicate, a bride’s nightgown.
We’d pick those seeds
out of our hair, off the dog,
and out of the window screens
for weeks, pull hundreds
of tiny sprouts out of the grass, and later,
when the river overflowed its banks,
we stayed up all night sandbagging,
almost a whole year’s seedlings lost.

A Walk on the Beach
A beach accumulates the sea’s debris,
bone, shell, salt-dried, eyeless sea-life.
That’s understandable. But this is flesh.
The indignity of bloat turning blue
in a swimsuit, heart-stopped
and drowned, the ungodly truth of him
dragged to this spot, drawing the curious in,
the way a street musician’s violin
is desolate enough to throw a quarter at,
and in the little bit of breeze there is,
the waves keep it up,
their forth and back, not even noticing
his wife and daughters holding each other up
in some other language, already left
with the job of pushing the rest of this day
into what they know is called tomorrow.
I tell my son to turn his music down,
grab my daughter’s hand—touch,
one way of knowing what still belongs to us.

after Huck Finn
How that inelegant boy could say the sun was sinking,
the Mississippi rising and make you smell
the swollen rot of the river; how he fried catfish
for whoever showed up to eat.
How those two strange shapes of grace,
outcast and fugitive, drifted half-naked and solemn,
a fish hook and a piece of string
between them.
I’d have thrown it out, that eyesore of a hammock—
dingy thing I’d thought romantic between the birches—
except for the trouble of cutting it down, except
for our girl who loved it, who’d throw her arms up,
on the upswing and giggle, reaching for whatever pull
she felt in the curve that wanted her back.
Sometimes life just lights up like that, and you know
what to keep, what to throw away.

Mandatory Evacuation
and the blunt face of the storm
and the wheat grass raking the sand,
and the worn-thin sky so bruised
the sun can’t get through,
and the storm smell
and the day tasting like dust and metal,
even then, they won’t go,
then everything nailed to the wall
of fear, everything
you’ve put down money for,
even the light, changed forever,
pilings flung like matchsticks
out of the water,
trees piled up Tinker Toys, roofs
now paper airplanes,
households split wide,
a blown-wet curtain flapping
where a wall had been,
and even with the waves quiet again,
anything living lives on some mercy, none
of the reasons for staying remembered,
all around drowned,
what’s gone
keeping on being gone
and the birds complaining
in the sore air—