Spring 2007

 

 

 


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after hurt
Louis Murphy

Grandpa used to wake up screaming from his sleep—
dreaming that he has to kill a woman again
who holds a baby in her arms;

he only says that she must be Korean—
that is all he would tell my mother
holding onto her in the middle of the night; at
two-thirty in the morning

he finally calms down enough to crawl on the floor,
towards his bed as airplanes thunder overhead
from the airport

headed to New York and Detroit.  He
would cry himself sick, sobbing,
between the sheets that he
never had when he was a sniper

when he sat in trees for days without number;
and his slit eyes stare into the valley below, hoping
that everyone has left, but She

walks out of a thatch roof hut
and the baby could be real, but
it is wrapped so that he can’t
tell, and she holds the package out

towards a trooper as he walks into view,
and Grandpa shoots her, from the top of his tree,
watching the child fall and flail,

and he knows now It was not a threat
to his brothers; and while the sheets
of his now-bed seemed like the roof
of the world, the sky falls every night;

in the morning I pull the sheets tight
and he has peed them again, and
it looks vaguely like a child wrapped up
in a blanket, and he tells me that it is me.

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