He didn’t look like he was
asleep as an open casket body should
head tilted toward his shoulder
skin bunched into
ruffles that hide his jaw line
like he couldn’t get comfortable
enough with all these people
as if he might reach up and
slam the lid down
We notice things: the steady speed of dust
Accumulating at our spines, your glances
Replete with tells, the couch frame’s ache, and
The room’s distempered hum. You shy from us,
For we know things: how to catch the conscience
Of a king, the universal truth of man,
Horror’s immense darkness and what it can
Undo in one. In you. You’re barely conscious,
Equidistant from us and the glow that holds
You like fine oak frames our window. Your curls
Etch into the plaid pillow, scribbled in-
To view for us like notes in the margin.
Your presence fades to changeless hours, while idle
Fluorescents also rise, late. Set early.
Kevin Murphy’s work has appeared in Heron Tree and Gravel Magazine. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Idaho and currently resides in Asheville, NC with his person named Shannon.