“Upon Seeing a Ghost at My Bedside, Maine, 2009” by Cole Murphy

The second night after seeing you,
I try fucking to distract myself.
His hands covering my face, I grunt
against the thwack-thwack of wet
slapping skin, “moan like you hate me,
suffocate the room with screaming,
press your palms into my eyes
until I see blood vessels bursting.”

You were close enough to touch my face,
hand outstretched, lidless eyes blazing white.
Your lips, contortionists, twitching
a muted banter, urgent, unheard.

Perhaps you knew we were disappearing,
a matchstick nearly spent.

Chewing Klonopin like candy cigarettes,
I am a lightbulb, humming. Our room, ripe,
smelling of ass and glycerin, murmurs
with the sound of his labored breathing.
My head is a globe, swiveling, unsteady.
It stops on the farthest corner, a finger
on a foreign land. I’ll say it was a headlight
passing, shimmer of snow, a fading flame.


Cole Murphy received his B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Houston, where he was a contributing editor to the undergraduate creative arts journal Glass Mountain, and his M.A. in Literature from the University of Texas at Tyler. He is currently teaching English and plans to pursue his Ph.D. in the near future.