Jessica Murray



A baby goat falling off, whoops!, the side of a mountain.
Another animal that looks like it’s sleeping
on the underside of a speed-bump
as the moon draws its curtains.
A quorum of strangers pooling money, can-do,
and Labrador-retriever-level enthusiasm
because love, or something like it, bade them.


A girl who wandered into the wrong library
with the wrong person,
a girl who will never now not have enough fear.
An image of a child so bereft
that to look, not to look, is another violation.
The word found scrawled in grateful,
disbelieving red across a taped-up sign.


A nagging suspicion that the donation has disappeared
into the bureaucratic mechanisms,
was too inconsequential, no matter, to provide
one half-cracked egg of relief.
A hope that the Flock of Chicks, the share
of a Milk Menagerie is a reprieve for someone,
somewhere—someone who, with luck,
won’t grow to despise the premise of you.


An act so flensed with self-loathing and despair
that you will feel
a physical sadness whenever it presses
into your thoughts. An act of bravery
that shatters you in your kitchen, where sometimes
you attempt to bake something.
A video of a rescued dog—blind and wizened—
whose final moments are composed
on camera
to culminate in the honest ask.


A malingering scent, maybe formaldehyde,
that ruins the effect
of the hastily painted little cakes and ales.
Diagrams that at first glance seem to show
the complete assembly, but whose perspective
is all wrong. A kitchen sash that someone has opened,
through which a little sunlight is bending, gimlet-eyed
crows moving on a pert diagonal. A thought,
impossible to prove,
that at least one piece is missing.

Jessica Murray works as an educational media producer and writes in Austin, Texas. Her poems have recently appeared in Birmingham Poetry Review, Booth, Cherry Tree, Cream City Review, Free State Review, and the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review.