An Incomplete List of Things that Burst
A magenta strip of Mylar balloon that glints when turned to the sun—
or burst pipes and water flooding rooms.
Lilies, sweet peas, and snapdragons
and the apple trees covered with blossoms and the fruit
of an orange whose cross-section resembles my lungs.
I would be still—I would be silent and quake—
my body like a living coal—
the air it rises through—
the break in the heart—
the weapon—the bomb we make.
Credits: William Brewer, Robin Becker, Yusef Komunyakaa, Walt Whitman, Major Jackson, Anne Waldman, James Weldon Johnson, Maggie Smith, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Katie Ford
“An Incomplete List of Things that Burst” is from Erin Murphy’s new chapbook, Fields of Ache, a collection of centos forthcoming from Ghost City Press as part of its 2022 Summer Series.
About Fields of Ache: Forthcoming in summer 2022, this collection of centos focuses on identity and the natural world. A cento (from the Latin for “patchwork”) is a collage poem made up of lines by other poets. Murphy says, “I’m interested in the way the meaning of the lines shifts as the context shifts,” adding that despite the seemingly random nature of the form, the process is anything but arbitrary. “You need to have something to say before you find the lines to help you say it.”
Erin Murphy is the author or editor of thirteen books, most recently Taxonomies. “An Incomplete List of Things that Burst” is from her new chapbook, Fields of Ache, a collection of centos forthcoming from Ghost City Press as part of its 2022 Summer Series. Another collection, Human Resources, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Her work has appeared in such journals as Poet Lore, Waxwing, Diode, Southern Poetry Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Georgia Review, North American Review, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. Her awards include the Rattle Poetry Prize Readers’ Choice Award, The Normal School Poetry Prize, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, and a Best of the Net award. She is Professor of English at Penn State Altoona and serves as Poetry Editor of The Summerset Review and Poet Laureate of Blair County (Pa.). Website: http://www.erin-murphy.com