A Member of the Pantropical Chinaberry Family

by Sheila E. Murphy

The duo chose mahogany to panel their home for its ability to resist wood rot. Their matching straight-backed chairs proved durable as well. The couple fingered Gibson manufactured banjo necks made of the same wood, played sparkling sequences resembling Roy Clark’s. They arranged to locate a mahogany canoe fashioned by fire without the use of iron tools. Friends observed their faces darken over time toward the reddish brown of timber. The couple rejected a discovery in the Philippines that mahogany acidified the soil, spawning a movement that urged no new planting.


Sheila E. Murphy is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. (Green Integer Press, 2003). Murphy's book titled Reporting Live from You Know Where (2018) won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition from Meritage Press (U.S.A.) and xPress(ed) (Finland). In 2020, Luna Bisonte Prods released Golden Milk. Broken Sleep Books brought out the book As If To Tempt the Diatonic Marvel from the Ivory (2018). Initially educated in instrumental and vocal music, Murphy is associated with music in poetry. She earns her living as a management consultant and researcher and holds a PhD degree. She has lived in Phoenix throughout her adult life.