SHE SAT while I,
THE LEAST important
Of her many admirers,
SLEW THE boredom of evening.
TALES I told her,
As SHE LET me hold her,
Meaning nothing in her heart.
While to me,
It WAS to be,
More than I could dream.
CHASE THE doldrums for
Passing dreams,
I chose to STEAL THE LAST kiss
Before SHE left.
Never lover,
So long,
My LAST good friend,
I LET you go,
But in your HASTE,
You left me to CHASE a
Dream I’ll never write
Upon solid SLATE
For in my heart
It will forever be

-H. Murcia 7:22PM 1/21/2017

She lived her life in constant anticipation of a large and unlikely event that might change things, for the better or, more likely in her view, for the worse. I lived for the small and predictable day to day. It’s difficult to say which of us was happier, but perhaps it would be more appropriate to wonder who was more unhappy. A series of vain disappointments and three years of underwhelming achievement in California had left me melancholy much of the time, and restless. She was unpredictable, way up high one day then way down low the next. Mostly, she busied herself with thoughts of a hazy future where things were settled and, as she so often said, sublime.

“In ten years,” she said one Sunday morning as I drove our 2006 Miata north along the 101 highway, “we might have a little place like that one we just passed two miles back. In fact, I want to live in that very house. Would you live there with me?”

Her favorite game.

“When you sell your first big painting, you buy it for me,” I replied. “I’ll own it, and I’ll let you live there.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” she said.

I looked out at the ocean, and she settled back into the spongy passenger seat, turning her face upwards to catch the sunlight. The traffic wasn’t bad, and I stopped the car alongside a shallow glen teeming with oleanders. She got out and picked a few, forming a bouquet.

Back in the car, she stared at the flowers. The sight of them, at the pinnacle of beauty, seemed to depress her. It was as if the flowers were already wilting, dying in her hands.

“I bet it’s snowing in New York,” I said irrelevantly. She seemed to catch my meaning, and smiled a bit.

“I bet you’re right,” she said. “Snowing in New York and here I’ve got a fresh-picked bouquet.” A pause. She went on. “Can you picture these flowers in a Tiffany vase on a dining table in that house we just passed a few miles back? At around, oh, four o'clock? And you preparing a large dinner party? And me sprucing up these flowers?”

I said I could imagine it. We drove on.


fists folded neatly
beneath her chin
less than taut skin
chocolate frosted child smile
absorbing my breath
her thoughts impaled
by blended space
partially erased
spiraling in frenzied haste
enamored by her simplicity
within a world’s duplicity
serene sunflower
willful for survival
sundial painting time
pink papered lips
transparent glass
inviting light to fill
her sanctuary
rosary beneath
faithless fingers
resurrected in her eyes

*As always, she is my tender yellow in a world of black, the faith I lean into when the world ceases to hold me. My beautiful mother–still.


when my mom was in elementary school they had to write a story through the perspective of a Christmas tree.
everyone wrote about how nice and happy it was to get decorated.
she wrote a horror story about getting chopped down and propped up in a stranger’s house to die. then had to read it in front of the class.
honestly I don’t know why she didn’t go into writing after that.