Monday, 19 July 2021


Smells Like Teen Spirit

by Mish (Eileen) Murphy

Mary Anne was prima in a pink tutu
and pink toe shoes with crisscross ribbons.
I wore a black leotard and pink tights,
black slippers with elastic bands.
Sliding glass doors let Florida
sunlight into her living room.
She was the swan
and I was the chorus,
but it was glorious, her mother,
father, and mother’s friend,

When Mary Anne moved away
I barely ate. I lost weight.
Mother praised my slim figure.

I lay awake late at night,
wishing I could dance
away from my bedroom
with its high jalousie windows.
I eavesdropped on snippets
of my parents’ conversation
mixed with laughter
from The Tonight Show.
I said hello
to the death songs inside me.

I caressed the safety razor
I shaved my legs with.
I couldn’t force myself 
to carve the flesh of my wrists.

I asked my mother
to move so I could reach
the cabinet under the kitchen sink:
I’ll drink Drano.
I’ll kill myself.

No, you won’t, said my mother
and told me to set the table.

* * * * *

Mish (Eileen) Murphy is Associate Poetry Editor for Cultural Daily magazine and teaches English/Literature at Polk State College, Florida. She just published her third book of poetry (fourth book overall), the collection Sex & Ketchup (Concrete Mist Press Feb. 2021). Fortune Written on Wet Grass (Wapshott Press April 2020) was her first full length collection. Her second book Evil Me was published August 2020 (Blood Pudding Press). She’s had more than 100 individual poems published in journals such as Tinderbox, Writing in a Woman's Voice, and Thirteen Myna Birds, and many others


  1. Well done! Gripping! My only (slight) suggestion would be to give credit to Nirvana to the title.