Three Poems by John Muro

The three poems by John Muro are all biographical, and serve to illustrate events that have occurred over the span of his life – from adolescence to present day. They are portraits of childhood whimsy, adolescent remorse, and later-in-life setbacks and challenges…

Image by Tommy Ingberg.

by John Muro


Grateful for ninety-degree walls
strong enough to prop up a man
stumbling from his bed, using
panels of ship-lap for ballast.
It feels as if all of earth’s
listing, before I’m betrayed by
bureaus and thickets of doors.
Then heading into the hamlet
of hallway, where objects
confound and blur, and I’m
soon grabbling forward like
a marsupial trying to keep
its head still, unsure of whether
God has granted me two legs
or four. I’m in an alien world
where light’s distorted, the
final destination is unknown
and my time of arrival is
a bad guess at best. I may
yet rise, though, and become 
an enfeebled Ptolemy,
able to posit the theorem
that we do, in fact,
sit at the center of chaos.
Summer at the Quarry

The next best thing to love,
you insisted, wasn’t the delicious
trespass or even the precipitous fall,
but leaving land wingless on legs,
sun-red to the knees, for some
point of near-distant air just
beyond the fingertips that gave
way to howls and the sudden,
panic-stricken plunge into a
shock of cold water leaving
one of us with a desperate need
for breath and a hunger for one
last chance to take in a summer
sky that had just transformed
into a fire as large as a county
with contrails of cloud expanding
like the luminous remnants
of some cosmic explosion that
delicately burnished brownstone
walls and spread across the water’s
surface in an iridescent slick
of laurel-pink and purple oil,
and leaving me, in your view,
unable to distinguish the purely
pleasurable from the beautifully
tragic or reminding me of my
perverse want to favor the empty
allure of the ephemeral over the
cruel, reckless and desperate
beauty of the here and now.
Dear Denise

It hurts all the more knowing I never
meant for the hurt to stay, or sting, but
I’m near-certain that it did, and from
this vexed and ravaged abscess of heart
I wish I could reach back and offer up
something that might pass for salve,
having been witless enough to think
I could exile the past and that the spurs
of adolescence would have been worn
smooth by now, and yet I’m the one,
decades disquieted by a hurt that’s
like a canyon still deepening, who’s lost
and laboring over the one-too-many mishaps
that can befall a hapless and untidy life.

A two-time, 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee, John Muro is a resident of Connecticut and a lover of all things chocolate. His first volume of poems, In the Lilac Hour, was published in 2020 by Antrim House and it is available on Amazon. John’s poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Barnstorm, Euphony, Grey Sparrow, River Heron and Sky Island. His second volume of poems, Pastoral Suite, will be published by Antrim House this spring.

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