“What I Didn’t Say at the Table” by Abby E. Murray

Abby E. Murray


I’m thankful for my pussy
my lady handle
my dainty doorbell
I’m thankful for folks
who say it will be fine
who tell me to try empathy
cousins who want me
to shake my chances
over history’s fire
I’m thankful for smoke
because it means
something’s in the oven
I’m thankful for my hair
which isn’t mine
and my rings
which aren’t mine
I’m thankful for the rods
and cones buried deep
behind my pupils
my color antennae
my flags that snap
in the wind of whiteness
I’m thankful for the ocean
and its quiet denouement
I’m thankful for the river
that swallowed up Celan
I’m thankful for starlight
because the moon won’t smile
I’m thankful for dampness
and mushrooms and mold
I’m thankful for wishbones
that grant nothing
I’m thankful for fat kings
and fat presidents
who inspire me to drink
sherry and port the way
dogs eat towels
making it last
drink rum the way
death comes back for the win:
a tremendous toast
a huge lump of ice
listen up fat kings
I’ve come for my briefcase
I’ve come for my handshake
this is empathy
this is me hiding words
under the bridges
under my tongue
this year I’m thankful
for street lamps and spray paint
this year I’m thankful
for my body in pieces:
the middle finger
the bitch face
the frozen shoulder

from Poets Respond
November 26, 2017

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Abby E. Murray: “A third of Americans dread political talk at Thanksgiving, but the past year has made me feel—strangely—more grateful and angry than I’ve ever been. I can’t stop seeing my country as a place prepared for our daughters, prepared for all those who have yet to claim their voices. I am worried. I am angry, and I’ve spent every day since the 2016 election acknowledging this and trying to heal, trying to protect those around me and acknowledge them. Maybe this is what it means to age. Maybe this is what it means to listen and hear. In either case, I wasn’t asked to say what I’m thankful for at the table this year. It was a very pleasant dinner.” (website)

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