The Doctor’s Monster by Eileen Murphy

The Doctor’s Monster

Father?
She wakes up
on a slab
with the doctor
hovering over her
with a probe

& she knows that
she is composed
of scraps of
other human beings
sutured together

& that electricity
is somehow involved,

as are the flasks
in the lab that catch
the half-light
that falls through
the barred basement windows.

She has the impulse
to flee out-of-doors,
run naked
through the tree-lined streets,

maybe meet some
friendly villagers,

but when she tries to sit up,
she finds she’s
restrained hand & foot
by leather straps.

For your own good,
intones the doctor,

who knows a lot more about
villagers
than his monster does.

by Eileen Murphy, first appeared in Dark Ink: A Poetry Anthology Inspired by Horror, Moon Tide Press, 2018.

Editor’s Note: This poem feels like a certain kind of horror right up until the end where the emotional punch of the true monstrosity is revealed.

From the archives – The Office Dreams of Freedom by Eileen Murphy

The Office Dreams of Freedom

It’s cold here and dusty, the air perfectly still.
Voicemail sings when people are gone.
It pities pencils locked in supply rooms.
It sings to its friends in offices everywhere.

Voicemail can sing when people are gone
Because it dreams that it’s free to dream.
Voicemail makes friends in offices everywhere,
Meeting near fish tanks, lurking in halls.

Because it dreams, it’s free to dream.
The phones fall silent when voicemail sings,
Meeting near fish tanks, lurking in halls
As the office dreams of freedom.

The phones fall silent when voicemail sings
About the pencils locked in supply rooms.
While the office dreams of freedom,
It sings that it’s cold here and dusty
And the air is perfectly still.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, December 12, 2016 — by Eileen Murphy

Photograph by Christine Klocek-Lim

i wish by Eileen Murphy

i wish

grandma i wish
we could sit down
at your formica table

in your kitchen in Tampa
& eat grapes
& drink Cokes from the bottle

to keep cool
you always slipped me
a few bucks b/c you knew

money escaped me
but you didn’t mind
the way i was

i wish i could take you shopping
i’d buy you
a pair of red shoes

you always liked shoes
i wish i could wrap
you inside a piece of bread

& carry you in my purse
& when I needed you
i’d pull off a piece

& let you dissolve on my tongue

by Eileen Murphy

Editor’s Note: This poem’s informality sharpens the truth of the narrator’s grief.

After Me, Annihilation by Eileen Murphy

After Me, Annihilation
—Remark attributed to Louis XVI, implying he didn’t care about consequences since he’d be dead.

When I heard about
The next world war
I stuck a stone in my backpack, a stolen star.

I tried to unplug
My electric sheep.
I wore pink lipstick, I paid to cheat.

I baked in a bunker
Buried in my dress
As hot birds flew bombs north by northwest.

I walked crooked streets
In my high heels.
I saw no other people for ten thousand miles.

I slept with an old sock;
I ate a moral pear.
In a dark car I was washing my hair

In ashes & Dove
When a ‘bot knocked on the door
& said, Have you heard? We finally won the war.

by Eileen Murphy

Eileen on Facebook

Editor’s Note: The uneven rhymes and clever references give this poem a rich history that many readers will appreciate. However, the poem also functions without any footnotes–the disturbing imagery carries emotional resonance.

The Office Dreams of Freedom by Eileen Murphy

The Office Dreams of Freedom

It’s cold here and dusty, the air perfectly still.
Voicemail sings when people are gone.
It pities pencils locked in supply rooms.
It sings to its friends in offices everywhere.

Voicemail can sing when people are gone
Because it dreams that it’s free to dream.
Voicemail makes friends in offices everywhere,
Meeting near fish tanks, lurking in halls.

Because it dreams, it’s free to dream.
The phones fall silent when voicemail sings,
Meeting near fish tanks, lurking in halls
As the office dreams of freedom.

The phones fall silent when voicemail sings
About the pencils locked in supply rooms.
While the office dreams of freedom,
It sings that it’s cold here and dusty
And the air is perfectly still.

by Eileen Murphy

Eileen on Facebook

Editor’s Note: Personification and repetition are used to great effect in this poem. The underlying creepiness of isolation is decorated with whimsy, luring the reader into its dusty clutches.