A Poem by Miguel Murphy

Miguel Murphy

Miguel Murphy

Miguel Murphy is the author of Detainee and A Book Called Rats, winner of the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry. He lives in Los Angeles where he teaches at Santa Monica College.

He Says, Oyster

           pleasure like the torture artist’s
cleft in two: at Tricks

                       he says he won’t eat
           seafood that reminds him
of a woman’s down-there. Her what?

                       Who saying oyster
           grimaces? As if he weren’t
tasting his final

                       fulsome morsel. As if he
           weren’t one of us
cowering with delight

                       remembering the ceremony
           when we liked how
we were loved. As one

                       taking the other’s
           enemy skin in. Enjoying
the tonguing, fingering & being

                       himself the oyster
           sucked clean of
salt & warm lemon,

           & stolen from
& used. Another man’s

                       rough mouth at these tinged wet
           edges, vulnerable & wrinkled
lying in succulent

                       mignonette. Labial
           & tough ribbon. Heat’s
black-gummed house—  

                       A plate of mouths
           & the imagined accusation of so
many heated, pulsing silences. . .

                       His self-loathing
           loathes me. Try,
I said. Say, oyster. Pocket of Oil. Heart’s

                       Carafe. The wine
           spilled with laughter
& shame, but I’m serious—

                       Enjoy it with your eyes
           closed. It’s homesick,
but say, Mother—

                       Muscle of Love, Little Moist & Plosive
           Purple, Morbid Mouth. . . Vampiric
Lyric, Lingering. . .

                       For aren’t these silken
           oysters also
dying like him?

                       It can’t hurt
           to say it, for your own sake.
Now, here. Taste.