2 poems, 1 story

by Bryce murray

Detroit Catholic Central High School


He can’t see past the smoke that she’s trouble.
Tapping cigarette ash erotically,
dame whispers, spins her web, blows a bubble.
He says, “Here’s to nothing,” tips scotch whiskey 

Man falls for her, hangs up trench coat, they dance
as silhouettes. High-contrast mise-en-scène
projects matter-of-fact a fateful glance
of rich living only a moment when 

The ex returns, the cops pull up, he’s done
with dancing. Lover packs away it all;
the time runs short before he’s left and gone—
man dwells too long, shot dead by femme fatale. 

His heart bled out, no tears, she spins her spool;
the fallen man floats lifeless in her pool.

Summer grain

We biked two miles to get there.
I stood, hands on hips, exhausted
as she wandered into the field
of wheat still green with youth;
she stood a straw among the rest.

I watched her thin
and into soil branch legs,
I too sprouted bark,
struggled to beckon her away
before my limbs were fixed wood
and the scythe of harvest reaped
her autumn fruit.

Knots grown deep in trunk,
against the wind old roots buckled,
she lost herself gazing to the red barn
beyond the trees;
dead limbs still point away.

Mack the Knife

“Is this crème brûlée or vanilla Jell-O?” He asks.

I glare at the greasy waiter. He picks up the dish, lets the orange sludge slide onto my apron, then drops the plate. At the shatter, twenty eyes peer up from their grills and fryers, cutting boards and knives. Laughter erupts.

My feet crunch shards as I escape into the dining area. From a back booth among the dense crowd, Vince drools at the jazz ensemble. He’s mumbling to himself— something about “Satchmo.” Clearly, being executive chef means nothing to my brother.

The sax takes over as I splash half a Gin Rickey in his red-rimmed eyes.

“Follow me.”

In the back alley, I light a cigarette to calm down. The flashing blue and red neon lights from the strip club next door are somehow therapeutic. I take a final puff and turn to Vince, wobbling on the steps. One strong shove topples him onto a heap of trash bags leaking slime though rat holes. I wipe my hands and walk back to the kitchen.

"Summer Grain" was a runner up for the 2018 Stephen Bonga Award for High School Students (Poetry)


Bryce Murray

Bryce Murray is a junior at Detroit Catholic Central High School in Novi, Michigan, where he has won first place in the Fr. Enright Essay Writing Contest. In his free time, he enjoys writing poetry and short fiction, playing piano and guitar, and fly fishing the rivers around his home in South Lyon.