The Albatross by Christina Murphy

The albatross that smokes cigars is learning to tap dance

Empty streets, buildings closed down,
the heart hurts with loneliness
and only midnight is honest with the darkness

The albatross longs for the whispers of the gulls,
the sea, a wave of white caps,
majestic for a moment and then gone

But now there is only the dim light
of the dance studio and an old CD
of imperfect jazz music

Perhaps the albatross can dance across the waves
if the moonlight makes promises
and the stars don’t object to compromises.

All journeys begin again; that much is certain

The albatross can hear the music, feel the rhythm
but his feet are not wings and his heart
knows that solitary mourning
is best for the tender arrangement
of yesterday’s selves in tomorrow’s broken vases

Christina Murphy lives and writes in a 100 year-old Arts and Crafts style house along the Ohio River in the USA. Her poetry appears in a range of journals and anthologies, including most recently, in PANK and Hermeneutic Chaos and in the anthologies Let the Sea Find Its Edges and Remaking Moby-Dick. Her work has been nominated multiple times for a Pushcart Prize and for the Best of the Net Anthology.

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