Nancy Murphy

Poem that Wants to Inflict Harm

after Jordan Smith, “Poem after Peire Vidal”

See how these hands warm and open.
You just have to think of me.

I don’t know the difference
between light and warmth, nor

why it matters. By light I mean
your eyes, the way I dissolved.

By eyes I mean yes. You loved
me for that. Fire is unreasonable

the way it spreads itself around
selfishly. Flame is a state of body too.

You were once the stars to me,
mostly unseen, far away, a glow

from another time. I was unafraid
of your danger, it stuns me to think of it.

I only knew to not look directly
at your eclipse, to glance down

and to the side, like the way one drives
at night to avoid oncoming headlights.


Nancy Murphy is a Los Angeles based writer and the author of the poetry chapbook The Space Carved by the Sharpness of Your Absence (Gyroscope Press, 2022). She was a winner of the Aurora Poetry contest in 2020. Her poems have appeared in The Baltimore Review, SWWIM Every Day, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Sheila-Na-Gig, glassworks, The Ekphrastic Review, and others. Originally from the East Coast, Nancy earned a B.A. in American Studies at Union College, Schenectady, NY. More at