By Christopher Brean Murray

Featured Art by Alfred Stieglitz

Sometimes I talk too much. I tell myself
it’s good to socialize so I say almost anything
to get the conversation going, something
like “What’s your favorite crime film?” or
“The media really needs to tone it down.”
Then we’re off and talking about what
kind of dog to get or whether garlic
belongs in guacamole. I might not know
the person I’m talking to but we can
work that out on the fly like rolling a car
down a hill to get it started but what if
it has no brakes? Sometimes that happens
and you have to steer away from the river
rushing over the black rocks and turn
onto the lane that snakes through the trees

beside the reservoir and I’m still talking
trying to get a sense of this person
who tells me about her grade school
and the re drill that turned out to be real
but no one knew until years later
and in the room below the gymnasium
was a wallet-sized photo of a woman
who went missing and I wonder whether
the person telling me this is the person
in the photo or if there ever was a photo
how would I know? Then I’m telling a story
I’ve told many times but it’s going to be
good this time with the part about
the voices on the dunes and the man
waving from the other shore and I realize
the person I’m talking to reminds me of the girl
I went to camp with but can hardly remember
except for the birthmark and that night I heard her
crying in the tent while everyone slept.
She seemed fine the next day and I don’t
mention any of this but I wonder how my story
has changed over time. You’d think I would know
but I don’t. Anyway, I’m still on the road
that snakes through the trees. Here comes a tunnel.

Christopher Brean Murray’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bennington Review, Colorado Review, Copper Nickel, Epoch, North American Review, Quarterly West, Washington Square Review, and other journals. He has received awards from the Academy of American Poets and Inprint Houston, and he lives in Houston.

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