Smoke and Miracles: A Poem in Four Parts by Kevin Miller

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Finalist : 7th Annual Contest in Poetry

And what there is between a man and a woman.
And in which darkness it can best be proved.

                  — Evan Boland, “Against Love Poetry”

The Swell Season

She says the woolly worms’ stripes
foretell dark days, this brown stripe
is a line crossed at your own risk,
enjoy this light, for it will disappear
like good days after bad. I cut, split,
and stack at the outside chance
we make it to winter. This spring
metamorphoses from one black
stripe to another, the Isabella tiger
moth gives way to another mother,
say bald faced hornet, say yellow jacket,
the whirring turn of the paper heart,
stinger and stung swell together,
this wives’ tale promises a sharp end.



Apologies without End

Measure, count, parse—
disputes’ cut-lines
are furrows for rain’s
way with our faces,
ablutions course
without reparations,
this tick-quick battle
wearies her green eyes,
one-flecked gimlets
floating amber, perfect
the way each holds
a sun, nothing sets
even when this day
closes, dark settles
within a robin’s call.



Their Forty-third Fall

After weeks of raking, one maple leaf
escapes, rests within the house
where the hall turns to the bedroom.
It floats like a ruby hand on hardwood,
flared and untouched. For two weeks
they step around, say nothing, leave it
like a note on the mirror where a young
husband might shave or a chocolate
in foil secreted in a lunch sack,
their inattention a seasonal intention.



Anniversary Forty-Five

This week I carry the call like a vow,
it whispers through fir, ricochets
in cedar through alder, touches
the part burrowed where belief rests.
We mark the spot, our tell stills the trail,
we lean the way longing never makes it so.
Days later in early quiet, your owl reappears.
I hear mourning dove as clear as daybreak
at Hanne’s valley near Ebeltoft.
I break the hollow bone love can be—
my problem with fidelity always fidelity.




Kevin MillerKevin Miller lives in Tacoma, Washington. Pleasure Boat Studio published his third collection Home & Away: The Old Town Poems. Miller taught school for 40 years. He drives the Progeny Shuttle from Old Town, Tacoma.
Read poetry by Kevin Miller previously appearing in and read Kevin Miller’s Letter to America.

Photo of maple leaf by Red_Raccoon, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Kevin Miller by Cameon Miller.

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