"For Emma," and "Plus-one"

by Emily Murman

"For Emma," and "Plus-one"

by Emily Murman

For Emma


when later this year weather is what I want
there’s the feeling of falling behind with
time when every task feels
a little more taxing 

this summer my hair
nearly black with each asphalt layer
along the street where we split geodes
to start septembers

we named our writing
after fruits like pomegranate named shit
fringes to feel more like poets 

thinking tarantino films were good
because you hadn’t seen valerie
and I wanted to be bad

dared each other
kicked off swimsuits with white feet swishing
wrinkled in the teal chill before going
cold as corpses 

I rolled sand from the creases of my thighs
sucked lakewater from split
ends cards from you curled wet then
dried out in a shoebox

 when my house caught on fire I grabbed it
and months later a girl in a smiths
shirt passed you and you thought she was
me which is cliché, I know




I try to hold      it all   in a      paper cup



I cry at the wedding anyway

partly because    the sky has turned the color of cream

partly because    you put your hand on my shoulder


and I am jealous of the bride’s ankles   after

toddling through   the   grass    in my heels. I think


maybe smearing a mosquito

across your forehead       to get your

blood back

makes me chivalrous and


one day when the hairline

breaks              the way you


the ice cream cone      I’ll still


spin circles round the axle of your forefinger,

dress dampening  at the seams.


I cry at the wedding

partly because    it’s too quiet to tell you that the Spanish moss looks

                              like periwig ponytails and      I know you’d love that


partly because    you are like doughnuts at work

partly because    you are like a shiny bar of soap


mostly because in the     waning light,    when I rest in the

bluish      curve of your neck,       I catch


you quarter-folding your


handkerchief over and over and over and 

About the Author

Emily Murman is a poet, illustrator, and educator from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Writing from Lake Forest College and graduated in 2018. Currently, she’s an MFA candidate in Poetry at National University. Emily has been published in Milk + Beans, Okay Donkey, Cease Cows, Peculiars Magazine, The Green Light, and Déraciné. She can be found on Twitter @emilymurman.

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#thesideshow| December 2019