“She Was Laughing into Her Mashed Potatoes” by Paul V. Murray

Paul V. Murray


She had just told us about one of her friends,
who stumbled into a corporate board meeting,
looking desperately for the bathroom.

She danced off, book in hand
disappearing into the cluttered bedroom
finishing her move out of childhood.

We sat on the porch at 3:00 am, my wife and I,
becoming frenzied.
Something had happened to her,
horrible visions, a gruesome accident, a rape.
Opening the veranda swing door, she stepped
into our pain, unaware.

For a moment, shared ache, consolation,
cleansing anger joined us three together briefly,
then vanished through our tears,
dispersed explosion, into morning light.

That was a long time ago, when we lived in another city,
before she was clenched into theater directing.
I see her now, tall, smooth, clear, on her way to New York
walking along.

from Rattle #19, Summer 2003
Tribute to the Twenty-Minute Poem


Paul V. Murray: “I was standing by the side of the road that day. I saw a truck with Mexicans in it going up the hill where I live. Earlier that day, Americans were clipping down to work. I wondered if there was a poem about that, and if there wasn’t, I could write it. So, I did. And I haven’t stopped.”

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