After My Brother Kills Himself, I Try On Flowered Muumuus

My boss says, Go home.

I wait, office door closed,

think to phone friends, don’t.

My window looks on sky-

scrapers wreathed in fog.

I put on my hat, coat, and gloves,

and leave.

I roam the Loop

and wander into Marshall Fields.


This year’s

summer fashion features

Hawaiian prints,

shocking pinks and purples.

The dressing room mirror

is a parallel universe,

my reflection a stranger

in a flowered muumuu.


The smiling sales associate

asks me where I’m going,

remarks on what a relaxing trip

I’m going to have.


I buy four shopping bags

full of fuchsia frippery,

sleeveless dresses,

frou-frou swim suits,


Who cares, spend it all.

The world has come to an end.

Eileen Murphy lives 30 miles from Tampa with her husband and three dogs. She received her Masters degree from Columbia College, Chicago, and teaches literature/English at Polk State College. She’s recently published poetry in Rogue Agent, The Open Mouse, Yes, Poetry, Tinderbox (nominated for Pushcart Prize), Thirteen Myna Birds, Deaf Poets Society, and a number of other journals.