Abby E. Murray
Abby E. Murray is the editor of Collateral, a literary journal concerned with the impact of violent conflict and military service beyond the combat zone. Her first book, Hail and Farewell, won the 2019 Perugia Press Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. After serving as the 2019-2021 poet laureate for the city of Tacoma, Washington, she temporarily relocated to Washington, DC, on account of her husband’s ongoing military service. She teaches (remotely) rhetoric in military strategy to Army War College fellows at the University of Washington, and she stays alive by writing a poem a week.
Plans for the Afterlife
“ ‘Plans for the Afterlife’ is a poem I wrote the day after Thich Nhat Hanh passed away. Because we live in a country that values guns more than human life—even the lives of children—I've had more conversations about death with my young daughter than I ever expected to have. And she adapts. When I told her about Thich Nhat Hanh, she said she had plans to become a fish after her body was done being her. It broke my heart and buoyed me all at once, to know she knows her life is in danger in the U.S., and that she is already, in elementary school, seeing herself as part of a global, universal community that needs her. ”