Two Poems
by PATRICIA COLLEEN MURPHY
    FINALIST for the 2011 46er Prize
At the Campground for Addicts

They meet at the Big Rig site. Begging
for hookups. They are both named Robin.

He is wearing a sweater that’s all arms.
She dribbles coffee and calls it perfume.

They play miniature golf using only their fingers.
Then, horseshoes on the hopscotch court.

They have agreed to go cold turkey on one
night stands. Besides, it would never work.

She likes shopping. He likes sugar. They take
turns on the pedal boat. Near the camp store

they steal some Wi-Fi. Spend all night fucking
up Wikipedia pages. When the sun rises

they shake hands near the sign that says
One of Our Sites Is Bound to Take Your Fancy.

He disappears into his 1950’s fire truck.
She turns into a woman from another century.


After Birdwings
     —for Elizabyth

Only a few months
off the sympathy dole,
I’m no longer the dying
child, bald on a ward.

My grief turned into the lost
year, the long afternoons
stuck reading the same
sentence with still no sense

to be made of the jumble
of letters, and who made
letters anyway, how did
anyone curl them like tiny

hairs onto scraps of paper.
Now sadness is a sneeze.
It arrives during the punch line,
or when my mouth is full

of wishes. I’m wearing the joyful
face you’ve been wanting to see.

But then that tickle.
PATRICIA COLLEEN MURPHY teaches creative writing at Arizona State University where she is the founding editor of Superstition Review. Her writing has appeared in many magazines including Calyx, The Massachusetts Review, Clackamas Literary Review, New Orleans Review, Rio Grande Review, Notre Dame Review, Seattle Review, The South Carolina Review, Cimarron, Kalliope, Quarterly West, American Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Indiana Review, The Iowa Review. Her poems have received awards from Gulf Coast, The GSU Review, Glimmer Train Press, and the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize.