January 13, 2015

The Itch

The Itch


by Gregg Murray

Your mandate simply not to
touch the swatch where they
made good on suicide pacts.

You shred the skin in scratch
like a rake husking the dead
grass into a pile of blood. This

is how you plow, churn away
the itchburn, zip inside you, knock,
knock, paw your way inside you

where the man will listen, where
you will pay him his money.
His throne is a swarm of gold.

Inside now the vast floor, the
posture of the obedient sentries,
the tacit communiqués of still

gentry, the cloth-cleaned court
beneath your robes. He watches
the act in which you flay yourself

skinless. And now how shall he
judge you, you without race, your
gleaming body the only hege-

mony. Royal children scamper,
chattering, the farther rooms where
you have been permitted to

wander. These whispers caress
the open halls as you claw
toward them in your amorphous

armor. You, whose only itch
is the inkling, the spurt of a big
dream, the handle of a crystal


Gregg Murray is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College, where he is a contributing poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review. He has recent poems in DIAGRAM, Caketrain, [PANK], New South, Berkeley Poetry Review, and elsewhere, as well as ones forthcoming from Phantom Drift, The Carolina Quarterly, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Quiddity. Gregg also has a chapbook, “Ceviche,” from Spittoon Press (2014).

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