Timothy Murphy



The night you died, I dreamed you came to camp
to hear confession from an Eagle Scout
tortured by forty years of sin and doubt.
You whispered vespers by a hissing lamp.

Handlers, allowing you to hike with me,
followed us to the Bad Axe waterfront
down a firebreak this camper used to hunt.
Through all I said you suffered silently.

I blamed the authors of my unbelief:
St. Paul, who would have deemed my love obscene,
the Jesuit who raped me as a teen,
the altar boy when I was six, the grief

Asperges Me

Cleanse me of my iniquity
and wash away my sins.
Laugh, Lord, at my obliquity.
In you laughter begins.

Regard this little steeple.
You gave to the High Plains
a flock of sheep, the people
who drink deep when it rains.

I shall number all the stones
Assyria has laid low.
I shall number all my bones
as David did long ago.

Oh, what a troubled route man took,
descending from the trees:
cave paintings and the printed book
made on his bended knees.