Excerpt from Ghazals for 2023 by Sheila E. Murphy

A caramel sky breaches desire for
clear light splashed across our nicknamed day time.

Sentences have doilies in them plus raw
edges of breath unmatched to their wording.

Dime a dozen speakers speak high volume
splintered messages to the multitudes.

Our norms have little fur to calm boundaries.
Nerves chatter and fill the void with fear.

What if nature up and flew from eyesight?
We need its gravity, its strength, its peace.

Elephant approaches work as must-do.
I admire the tough gray skin plus strong legs.

Workbench here in the shed, mostly ignored.
We are busy looking at thick grass blades.

Commotion of the soul needs new sleep.
Miles and miles of quiet going nowhere.

One butterfly or two beyond the net.
A different one from that in tennis.

Gates in New Orleans close off / hold in
the sentiment watered nostalgia.

Bluebirds thrive within the mind distant from
daily evidence of their existence.

Correspondence proves proximity likely
amid solitude from rise just past dusk.

Keyboard has been my home since age sixteen.
From that vantage point the sole valid light.

Insomnia needs wings from memory.
I reach into another's dream for warmth.

Conductor of the orchestra threads tones
that may just match or chime beyond themselves.

What I always learn is what I never
learned is already true and beyond me.

Surprises show under the shining
strong microscope of curiosity.

The priceless park occupied by dogs, kids
and other hungry people cooking out.

From the beginning, empathy became
my crop, I waded through its fields and felt.

How untidy is the quotidian, how unimportant until kissed awake.

Today at last I have finished crying
for the full year of loss, now rest takes charge.

Pairs of tiny parrots star in photos
of a morning tree replete with dark leaves.

Fearful quarterback protects his tiny
talented self from probability.

Solid oak table upholds gift flowers
in a muscular vase filled with wood chips.

Whatever melody might mean, it lives
between the silences that cradle it.

Just in the nick of time, nicotine
renders daylight calm and acceptable.

Liberty remains an illusion of
blindly owning nonexistent choices.

Is it time yet to wind the grandfather
clock to sync with the digital watch band.

I do not have a role, she confided.
My mother faced her denouement with grace.

Seasoned centuries spark acquisition.
Daisies simply proliferate the yards,

Sheila E. Murphy’s most recent books are Permission to Relax (BlazeVOX Books, 2023) October Sequence: Sections 1-51 (mOnocle-Lash Anti-Press, 2023), and Sostenuto (Luna Bisonte Prods (2023). Murphy is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. (Green Integer Press, 2003). Murphy's book titled Reporting Live from You Know Where (2018) won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition from Meritage Press (U.S.A.) and xPress(ed) (Finland). Based on a background in music theory and instrumental and vocal performance, her poetry is associated with music. Murphy earns her living as a management consultant and researcher and holds the Ph.D. degree. She has lived in Phoenix, Arizona throughout her adult life.