After, we ate a Gala I split
with a knife—his two quarters
with the heart sliced out,
mine just the same.
I have only this month in which to love you.
After that, it’s see you next year but of course
that isn’t true, the winter’s swipe, the beautiful
claws of August rending you pocked, soft,
never again the ripe muscle I saw discarded
in the box, your one worm ear open to the sky.
Perfect in the sense that—
no, many perfect, plus or minus
a few destructive drops.
You live in my mouth,
but the spark of your destruction
lights lines in orbit, your voice
dividing atoms in my ear—
o song, o atoms, o apples,
now we’re just confusing
the straight knife with who
drew the line: what was vs.
what scintillating soap opera
Late fruit fallen well past the noon of our
existential autumn, but still I want it,
to halve and quarter, my mouth
mistaking every bite for ever.
We all came from somewhere, fell
off somebody’s truck or were twisted
by a sudden hand, implanted
with an unknown fire’s red spark.
Page one in the book of apple:
sharp skin, radiant vein
fed by a storm, face
shone to a high howl.
Now, once, in my lucky hand.
Painting the House
We switch to the smallest brushes
and the teacher says a few strokes
can intimate a building. I draw
the finest line—just eight or ten hairs,
the saddest fox tail—for a roof,
white with yellow and aquamarine—
the color of the mountain’s big shadow.
Bare wash of gray for windows, smudge
of a door and an accidental porch I build
with a single stroke. But stop—the rushes
are suddenly in danger, too gold, the broken
hedge too pretty with bloom. Already,
I’ve overimagined—the snow on the peaks,
the mess of clouds sifting rainmelt, hints
of mud and bracken and flies, and even
the house—you can’t just paint in roses
and call it summer. The picture is starting
to speak—something about a cord of wood
that never was delivered, and a ditch
last night that woke up singing with frogs.
Amy Miller’s poetry has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Willow Springs, and ZYZZYVA. Her full-length poetry collection is The Trouble with New England Girls. She lives in Ashland, Oregon.