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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 8: June 2021
Poetry: 55 words
51 words
57 words
By Erin Murphy

Three Demi-Sonnets

Poetry 101: Caesura
A sudden stop, mid-line, like freeze tag 
or the held breath before each round 
of Red Rover. You heard river and forged 
rough currents to reach the other shore—
a different game. In your mind, those classmates 
are still kids at recess. You are still waiting 
for them to call your name.


Poetry 101: Haiku
5-7-5 sounds like the measurements 
of Skipper, Barbie’s sturdy younger sister. 
She had high tops instead of heels, 
tennis togs, skis. In one model, you twisted 
an arm to make small breasts bud on her 
rubber chest. She never got Ken, but she 
got something better: bendable knees.


Poetry 101: Slant Rhyme
Identical twin brothers you knew in school—
one went to Yale, one joined a punk band. 
Years later, one was crashing with friends 
the summer you, too, were between lives. 
You slept with him on a twin mattress 
with no sheets—a one-night stand. 
You never asked if he was Dave or Dan.



Publisher’s Note:

The poems above are from a series of demi-sonnets, a seven-line form devised by Erin Murphy.

Erin Murphy’s
Issue 8, June 2021

eighth book of poems, Human Resources, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as The Georgia Review, Southern Poetry Review, North American Review, Glass, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. Her awards include The Normal School Poetry Prize, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, and a Best of the Net award. She is editor of three anthologies from the University of Nebraska Press and SUNY Press and serves as Poetry Editor of The Summerset Review. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Penn State Altoona.

Author’s website: www.erin-murphy.com

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