Joseph Murphy

That Time of Night

You are lying on your back three feet above the floor. You are resting on a poorly-made table that I’ve pulled into the center of the dining room. Above you, there is a chandelier, but it is not on. Around you, I sit at the head of the table; your daughter, not mine, sits at your left shoulder—watches you through her glasses, which came from her real father. Our son is at your right shoulder, licking his lips and banging the table with the end of his knife. Your father sits at the other end, across from me; his white sideburns reach down his neck and loop beneath his ears. And his new wife sits beside him and beside your daughter. Your father’s hand is on his wife’s knee; she is younger than me, but just barely older than you. You are lying on the table in between us all.

Joseph Murphy's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, Northville Review, The Legendary, and Prick of the Spindle. Letters to Famous Dead can be found here:

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