Sarah Murphy


I have risen from the rows of roses,
a swarm of bees, all forge and fury,

torch and teeth! Forked tongue
in the scorched earth, unreformed,

a heartless whore on the swarthy
shores, the wharves, the fjords,

be warned! My head shorn, my torn
dress mended, I’m a barn-stormer,

a horde of hellions, a swelling sea.
I will bring my minions, splashed

with savage paints. I will raise my flag
of ashes. Sing, sing, my enemy, come

back for more, to the war, to the wayward
wrath of saints. Tell me you missed me,

how the rooms bloomed with listless lilies,
doom-lit, tomb-split, stitched with gloom.

Soon you’ll be mine again, gun-shy groom,
fine bride in a dyed veil, hail of rice and fire.

How could I forget the first time? The stench
of the trenches, the clenched jaw, the maw

of the marriage bed? Never! I’m yours
if you want me, each sliver, each shiver,

the calm before the horror. For richer,
for poorer, a way to even the score.

I’m your port in a seastorm, your knife
in a drawer. Call me bitter, call me bitten,

call me bit o’ honey, honey, I’ll always come to the door.