Kevin Murphy – Viewing, Shelf Life



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

Shelf Life


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.



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