“In the Morning My Body” by Abby E. Murray

In the morning my body

wants to go out

so I take her. I tell my body

to be good because

she knows what I mean:

don’t leave me.

And the day opens up

to her like a pond, shivering,

reveals a smudge of herons

commuting toward the reservoir.

She is delighted —

but when is she otherwise?

To her, even a broken bone

is a kind of magic trick:

the splintered beginning

of new wholeness.

Meanwhile, I miss what was.

I see my scrabbling to love

in all things: herons

soaring away from us,

coffee swallowed too fast,

and I tell my body

she doesn’t understand

the weight I carry,

the slip and fall and fall of it.

She says nothing,

nose full of fog, as if

she would save this silver hour

by filling herself with it

if only I called it possible.


Abby E. Murray is the editor of Collateral, a journal that publishes work concerned with the impact of violent conflict and military service beyond the combat zone. She teaches writing to army officers on fellowship from the Army War College at the University of Washington and offers free creative writing workshops for immigrants, soldiers, veterans, and their loved ones in Pierce County, Washington. Recent poems can be found in Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Ohio Review, and Wrath-Bearing Tree. Her third chapbook, How to Be Married after Iraq, was released in 2018.