Peeling Asparagus by Florence Murry

I peel the asparagus’ flattened stems
one by one. The grill is hot, sweet potatoes done.
Randy says he has to phone Jim and ask about Sharon.
It is dusk, but from where I stand I don’t see the orange sky.
I usually peel my asparagus with a potato peeler.
I slide the sharp edge along the thin stalk.
Sometimes the stem breaks.
Randy is telling Jim to hang in there.
Sharon in a hospital bed in their living room
looks out the window where wheat stands
six feet in the big Montana sky.
Her ashes will be scattered
in Wyoming,
where she and Jim ran naked in the rain.

As morphine dripped into his veins, my dad said
he could see me rising out of the Wilson High swimming pool.
Water glistening, eyes raised to the gymnasium ceiling,
“Like an angel,” he said, “like an angel.
Sometimes words come pure and white.
They slide off our loved ones’ tongues
penetrate our hearts
and stay with us years after they are gone.

We laughed last August as Sharon and I hauled
the grain machine down the steep cellar stairs
where she separated the organic grist.
then packed bags of it in our suitcases before we left.

I place the asparagus in the pan with garlic
then pluck the green from the strawberries.
I reach for the flour
next to the large jar labeled organic wheat.

Florence Murry
Florence_Murry-DSC_0049_-_Version_5Florence Murry’s poetry has appeared in Rockhurst Review, Southern California Review, CQ/California State Poetry Society, earlier in The Black Buzzard Review (Florence Bohl), and elsewhere. Most recently, her poem EXHUMED was awarded an honorable mention in a Cultural Weekly contest. She currently works with Jack Grapes and the Los Angeles Poets & Writers Collective.