Elisabeth Murawski

much worse things

my sister’s ashes are on hold
in a pottery urn

now she’ll never tell
if he came to her in the night

was it the same yellow light
beneath the door

and did she turn into smoke
fly up the chimney

while he held her still
I would have understood

if she cried
her story would be safe with me

Remembering Worldly Laura

Lined up for first
I totally forgot:

walking home with Laura
from catechism class
I’d laughed

at her dirty joke.
For years,
I’d thought I was

so innocent then.
The laugh
gives the lie.

Our first communion day,
my long white

kept sliding down
around my
knobby knees.

But what a swan
Laura was,
gliding to the rail

in her pale
blond braid,
the skin beneath

her eyes
so transparent
it looked bruised.

Elisabeth Murawski is the author of Heiress, Zorba’s Daughter, which won the May Swenson
Poetry Award, Moon and Mercury, and three chapbooks. Still Life with Timex won the Robert
Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. A native of Chicago, she currently lives in Alexandria, VA.