Sarah Murphy

Letter to My Better Self, Neglected, Rejected, Allegedly Dead

O, is it time to speak? O is it time to kiss,
then tell, then kiss your mind goodbye?

Hi! Welcome to the world, little girl,
little curled lip, little lisp and pearl.

That’s what I say each day, anyway.
Welcome to the present, that empty nest

you neglected, that egg you failed to save,
that ache you filled with Sturm und Drang

stern dragons, damsels, damned if there
wasn’t a castle too! O the canyons, O

the caverns, O the O that was my mouth!
But that all went south, so I’ll say Welcome

to one fine day unleaded, unladen, unmade,
just your breath, your breadth, your bread,

your hair that shines like leaves. I know
you grieve the kings and crimson, the crystal,

the crinoline and the kill, the liquor, the tricks,
the quickened step, the checkered Czech, etc.

Somewhere, yes, your enemies are keening.
Somewhere, they fall to their knees and weep.

But here, hatchling, put down your hatchet.
Put down your clouds of bees. I promise

the devil will remember your name and sing it
to the trees. I’ll promise you anything if you sit

at this window as the sky fills with fire
and at last let the past rest in peace.